Quick thinking saves irukandji victim
"I don't think I would've lasted any longer."
Those were the chilling words from Jack McNally, a 17-year-old boy who survived a sting from an extremely venomous jellyfish in north Queensland at the weekend.
Jack was stung by a Irukandji jellyfish while swimming at Whitehaven Beach on Saturday, after being in the water for just two minutes.
And Whitsundays Volunteer Marine Rescue president Mal Priday said by the time a rescue crew reached Jack his pain was literally off the charts.
Mr Priday said Irukandji usually caused an eight to 10 on the pain scale, but this was the worst case he had seen.
"This man was a 10, maybe even an 11," he said.
"I've been doing rescues for 20 years, and that was the most severe Irukandji I have ever seen."
Mr Priday said time had been crucial, as the team had received the call at 4.50pm while both its helicopters were deployed on another incident.
He alerted the radio room, which hailed any VMR vessels close to Whitehaven Beach.
Luck was on their side, as the vessel Settlement was close by. Its crew was able to transfer Jack to the VMR rescue boat, with paramedics and crew on board, by just after 6pm.
Skipper Ken Bryce said: "This saved us about an hour."
He said by the time the rescue crew reached Jack her was violently shaking.
Once he had been stabilised, the volunteer crew were able to speed Jack to land, where he was transported to an ambulance and rushed to Mackay Hospital where he has since recovered.
Jack's mother Karen Harker posted her thanks on social media to everyone who had "saved Jack".
"Time was precious and the hospital team mentioned his body was so stressed they really think that each minute saved his life," she said.
Jack also praised the quick thinking of the VMR team and paramedics.
"Thank you so much for everything that everyone did; I don't think I would've lasted any longer or even still be here if it wasn't for everyone helping me to cut time and load me with medical attention at exactly the right time," he said.
"It was heaps painful, but I'm heaps grateful for everyone cutting even seconds as my heart was under extreme stress."
He promised he would repay them by shouting everyone some cold drinks.
"Everyone's a bunch of legends for keeping me alive; I can't thank everyone," he said.
"Cheers heaps and I'll fix you up a few cold ones."
VMR said the only thanks it needed was to know he was OK.
"Nothing matters apart from that mate, I think the crews' heart rates are back to normal," it posted.
Originally published as 'Violently shaking': Irukandji victim's pain was off the charts