A commercial fisherman in Australia is lucky to be alive after being bitten by a highly venomous box jellyfish while bringing in fishing nets near Bigge Island off the northern end of Western Australia.
The 21-year-old from Darwin, Australia, was in severe pain when the Royal Australian Navy was called to the scene, the Australian Department of Defense announced Monday.
The patrol boat HMAS Pirie was conducting border protection when it received an urgent call for help from the fishing vessel Four Seasons.
Medics determined the patient needed to be evacuated, but they were out of range for an aero-medical evacuation, so the patrol boat transported him to Darwin at top speed while providing treatment during the 16-hour trip.
Upon arrival in Darwin, an ambulance was waiting to take the patient to a hospital Sunday morning.
The fishing boat's captain praised and thanked the crew of the HMAS Pirie for its rapid and professional response.
"My crew and I are pleased to have been able to assist," Lieutenant Commander Phil Draper said, calling it all in a day's work.
The patient was so impressed with the crew's conduct he said he is now considering joining the Navy. He is hoping to visit the HMAS Pirie again soon to take a tour and meet his rescuers.
Just how lucky was the fisherman?
Australian Broadcasting Corporation described what can happen to someone who is stung by a box jellyfish:
"A box jellyfish sting occurs when the tentacles contact the bare skin, with venom fired into the flesh within three milliseconds of being triggered, 10 times faster than the inflation of an airbag in a car crash.
"A massive dose of venom can cause cardiac dysfunction, resulting in loss of consciousness and heart failure -- and death within five minutes of being stung."
Apparently -- and very fortunately -- the patient didn't received a massive dose of venom from the box jellyfish but enough to put him in danger.
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