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The boy, who has not been publicly named, died a week after being stung by a box jellyfish

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 19, 2021 06:46 PM
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box jellyfish
Credit: Getty

A 17-year-old boy has died days after he was stung by a jellyfish while swimming off of the northeastern coast of Australia.

According to 7News, the boy — who has not been publicly identified — was in the waters off of the Cape York Peninsula when he was attacked by a chironex fleckeri, also known as the Australian box jellyfish.

The boy was intubated by emergency workers after being stung and was then flown to a local intensive care unit. He died a week later on March 1, the outlet said.

As noted by CNN, the National Oceanic Service says the Australian box jellyfish is "considered the most venomous marine animal," with a body that can grow up to a foot diameter. Its tentacles can reach lengths up to 10 feet long.

"Box jellyfish have traits that set them apart from other jellyfish," the organization says of the animal. "Most notably, box jellyfish can swim — at maximum speeds approaching four knots — whereas most species of jellyfish float wherever the current takes them, with little control over their direction."

box jellyfish
Credit: Getty

Not only that, but box jellyfish also distinguish themselves from other species by using sight to keep from bumping into obstacles on the ocean floor.

"They have clusters of eyes on each side of the box," the National Oceanic Service explains. "Some of these eyes are surprisingly sophisticated, with a lens and cornea, an iris that can contract in bright light, and a retina."

A February report from the government of Queensland — the Australian state where the attack occurred — says there have been at least 70 fatalities caused by the box jellyfish in the country.

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The Australian box jellyfish "is extremely dangerous and a constant threat through the warmer months on the Northern Queensland coast," authorities warned.

According to the BBC, police said the coroner will be releasing a report about the boy's death.