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Public warned to watch out for deadly box jellyfish seen at different locations in local waters

The venomous sea wasps were spotted at various beaches on the island with the latest incident occurring on July 17 where a little girl was stung while “paddling in shallow water near FOC” on Palawan Beach

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SINGAPORE – According to Marine Stewards, there have been five sightings of box jellyfish in local waters that first began on March 21, prompting them – along with the Sentosa Development Corporation – to release an important public advisory warning the public to watch out for them in popular beaches.

Box jellyfish are known for their incredibly painful sting, which at times can even be potentially fatal. The conservation group wrote a statement on Saturday (July 18) talking about the incidents that occurred at a number of locations in Singapore waters including Sentosa.

Also known as sea wasps, their venom is explained by National Geographic as one of “the most deadly in the world.” Reports of dying due to heart failure or shock and drowning have been reported due to their “frighteningly powerful” sting. They also share that the pain can last for weeks, and more often than not, leave “significant scarring.”

The latest incident, which occurred on July 17 (Friday), left a little girl scarred after being stung by the box jellyfish while “paddling in shallow water near FOC” on Palawan Beach. The girl’s mom, Carolyn David, took a photo of the jellyfish in the water, as well as the stings her daughter received. See her post here.

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Source: Screenshot from Facebook / Marine Stewards

The very first incident of a jellyfish sting was reported on March 21, which happened off the National Sailing Centre at East Coast Park. Jade Dyson shared what happened to her in a lengthy Facebook post, showing photos of her stings as well.

Source: Screenshot from Facebook / Marine Stewards

Ms Dyson shared that when she was stung, the pain was “instant.” She also explained that her back, hips and shoulders began to spasm and she was immobilised. To make matters even worse, her breathing became laboured and difficult and her lymph nodes began to swell. See her post here.

Another sighting was on July 3 at the One Degree 15 Marina at Sentosa. Thankfully it was only a sighting and no one was actually hurt by the box jellyfish. This prompted the authorities to advise against swimming in the Sentosa area for at least two weeks. See the video here.

The next two sightings were on July 14 and July 16, in the Tuas and Seringat/Lazarush island dock respectively. Although there was no evidence via video or photos for the July 14 sighting, it was said that it was “reported by a trusted source.” Meanwhile, the July 16 one saw two box jellyfish from a boat at night. See the video here.

With the number of recurring sightings of the deadly box jellyfish, Marine Stewards have now warned against any swimming at “Sentosa, Seringat, Lazarus and St Johns islands for a further two weeks.”

In the meantime, the proper authorities have been alerted of the occurrences and are “working on this.”

The Marine Stewards also tell netizens to “stay safe and alert,” and if they happen to see a box jellyfish, whether dead or alive, they suggest calling NParks immediately. They also suggest taking a video or photo when possible and making sure to take note of the location that you’re in.

The post also gives instructions for what to do in case you happen to get stung by a box jellyfish. They explain that you should not rub the affected area and to call for an ambulance immediately to bring you to the hospital. While waiting to go, pour white vinegar over the affected areas and if possible, use tweezers to remove any tentacles that are stuck to the skin.

See the full Facebook post here. /TISG

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