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Australian teen dies after box jellyfish sting

A sign outside a hotel in the Australian city of Darwin warns against swimming in the sea due to the danger posed by box jellyfish - LAWRENCE BARTLETT / ©AFP
A sign outside a hotel in the Australian city of Darwin warns against swimming in the sea due to the danger posed by box jellyfish - LAWRENCE BARTLETT / ©AFP

(AFP)

An Australian teenager has died after a suspected box jellyfish sting, authorities said Thursday, in a rare case believed to be the country’s first such death in 15 years.

Health officials said the 17-year-old was stung while swimming at Bamaga, a remote community on the tip of Cape York in Australia’s far north, on February 22.

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He was airlifted to a hospital where he died on March 1, according to police.

The Australian box jellyfish, or Chironex fleckeri, is among the world’s most venomous creatures.

It is found primarily in Australia’s tropical northern waters, where swimmers are warned to keep out of the ocean or wear a full-body protective swimsuit during the summer “stinger season”.

Marine biologist Lisa-Ann Gershwin said it was Australia’s first recorded box jellyfish death since 2006.

“Unfortunately, that (previous) fatality also occurred in Bamaga,” she told public broadcaster ABC.

Gershwin said deaths were avoidable but people living far from cities were most vulnerable.

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