German tourist killed by box jellyfish in Thailand

PHUKET: One young German woman has been killed by box jellyfish tentacle stings and a friend has survived a stinging at a popular tourist beach on the Thai holiday island of Samui last night.
Provincial public health authorities who oversee Samui were today warning tourists not to go swimming at any beach in the region after dark.

The two women, both aged 20, were in the water at Lamai beach about 8pm last night when the stinging took place. The friends had arrived on the island earlier in the day and enjoyed dinner before taking a dip.

They were staying at one of several resorts along the beachfront on the small, secluded bay, which has a four-kilometre beach.
Dr Kajorsak Keawjarat, of Surat Thani province’s Public Health department, said today that no swimmers should enter the water on Samui or surrounding islands, including Koh Pangan and Koh Tao, close to sunset or after dark.
”There is no way we can know the level of danger until marine authorities tell us more,” he told Phuketwan.
One of the German women died on the way to Bangkok Hospital Samui. The second woman was treated for stings and allowed to go.
The woman who died was stung by the box jellyfish on both legs and both hands. Her friend may have been stung in seeking to help. Phuketwan has been provided with the names of both women but will not release them until we are sure relatives have been informed.
Concerns have been growing about whether box jellyfish are moving into Thai waters.
A woman swimming at night died on July 31 after being stung by a box jellyfish on Koh Phangan, not far from Samui in the Gulf of Thailand.
Phuket and the Andaman Sea holiday coast are separated from the Gulf by the Isthmus of Kra.
More precautions are being taken in Thailand.
Vinegar is considered to be the best treatment for box jellyfish stings. The box jellyfish is among the most toxic creatures in the world.
Application of common vinegar is the only treatment that reduces the toxicity. Pain is severe and not dulled by the vinegar.
Samui is a delightful spot for a seaside holiday and two journalists from Phuketwan enjoyed a swim at Lamai just last month.
”The weather is tropical and the water is wonderfully warm so it’s easy to see why people enjoy taking a swim in darkness,” editor Alan Morison said today.
”Lamai beach is rocky and it’s possible to walk out some distance at low tide. Phuket’s west coast beaches are washed by very different currents.”
Dr Thanuwat Tippinit, of the hospital on Koh Phangan, said on August 1 that nobody should swim in local waters at night in the wake of the tragic death of 31-year-old Chayanan Surin, a tourist from Bangkok.
Photographs of her torso and an arm showed the distinctive welts of the tentacles of a box jellyfish.
Soon after the tragedy, a second deadly box jellyfish was sighted in the sea off a beach at Phangan island.
More research was needed to determine how far the extremely dangerous jellyfish have spread around the Gulf of Thailand, noted environmentalist Thon Thamrongawasawat said at the time.

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