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I was left fighting for life after a sting by one of the world’s deadliest creatures – it was so tiny I didn’t see it

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I was left fighting for life after a sting by one of the world’s deadliest creatures – it was so tiny I didn’t see it
I was left fighting for life after a sting by one of the world’s deadliest creatures – it was so tiny I didn’t see it

A BRIT was left fighting for life after being stung by one of the world’s deadliest creatures during his dream holiday in Australia.

James Soale, 22, had been enjoying a dip Down Under when he came into contact with a deadly Irukandji jellyfish.

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James Soale, 22, and his girlfriend Savannah Callaghan, 23, were enjoying a dip Down Under when he was stung[/caption]

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He was left fighting for his life after the sinister swim on March 8[/caption]

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The terrifying but tiny Irukandji jellyfish can trigger fatal brain hemorrhages[/caption]

The killer sea creature – known for its extraordinary sting that can trigger devastating brain hemorrhages – was so tiny, the tourist didn’t see it.

He told how he suddenly felt “an electric shock” sensation as he swam at Palm Cove Beach, Queensland, with his girlfriend Savannah Callaghan, 23, on March 8.

The couple had been enjoying the holiday of a lifetime after heading on a six-week jaunt of Australia when they visited the beach to cool off.

But their quick swim in the ocean soon turned sinister – as James was rushed to intensive care, struggling to breathe and with chest pains.

Read More on Jellyfish

Medics managed to neutralise the lethal venom as the terrified Savannah prayed for James to pull through.

The couple today told how James had suffered the brain haemorrhage-inducing sting, despite swimming in a seemingly safe netted area.

They had abided by the jellyfish and crocodile warnings at the picturesque beach, but the 22-year-old still sustained an agonising sting on his left arm.

Wedding photographer James, from Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, told The Sun: “It felt like an electric shock.


“I suspected it was a jellyfish but didn’t know which one or the danger.

“I tried to walk it off before the pain got too much and I told the lifeguard, who quickly evacuated everyone from the sea.

“It was a scary time and the pain was excruciating. I’ve never had anything like that happen to me before,” he recalled.

“The lifeguards later found three of these jellyfish in the netted area where we were swimming.”

Irukandji jellyfish – ranging from just 1-2cm in size – have the unique ability to fire stingers from the tips of their tentacles and inject venom. 

Their stings are so severe they can cause fatal brain haemorrhages and on average send 50-100 people to the hospital annually in Australia.

James was kept in hospital under close observation for 10 hours until he was feeling better after medics administered lifesaving drugs.

He continued: “Now, ten days later I’m feeling a bit better, we’ve researched the jellyfish and I now know I’ve had a very lucky escape.

Ten days later I’m feeling a bit better, we’ve researched the jellyfish and I now know I’ve had a very lucky escape


James Soale

“After looking into them and where they’d most likely be, we’ve managed to avoid them and I’m slowly but surely back in the water again.”

Yet a day after he was released from Cairns Central Hospital, James had to return, again struggling to breathe.

Worried girlfriend Savannah, said of the ordeal: “We arrived at the hospital and the venom had leaked to James’ heart.

“Doctors feared he could go into cardiac arrest but after around ten hours there and medicating him, he was stable.”

The Irukandji jellyfish’s venom causes excruciating muscle cramps, severe pain in the back and kidneys, a burning sensation and even a psychological phenomenon creating a feeling of impending doom.

But miraculously, two weeks on from his brush with death, James has made a full recovery – and has even headed back in the water.

The 22-year-old and Savannah are now making the most of their final weeks in Australia before they return home on April 1.

According to the Whitsunday Regional Council, there are only around 100 Irukandji stings each year in Queensland that require medical treatment.

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Surf Life Saving Queensland says marine stinger enclosures are designed to stop box jellyfish, but Irukandji can still get through.

The website recommends leaving the water if an individual is stung, dousing the area in vinegar and seeking medical attention if serious symptoms appear.

Triangle News

The 22-year-old was struggling to breathe after being stung on his left arm[/caption]

Triangle News

James and Savannah had visited Palm Cove Beach in Queensland[/caption]

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