A ten-year-old girl in Queensland, Australia has survived stinging by a box jellyfish, an animal so deadly that for years it was known only by the marks on its victims’ bodies. The mysterious animal was called a sea wasp and was known for the severe, long-lasting, and sometimes fatal pain that it caused. Eventually divers and biologists discovered that it was a small, insignificant-looking, and almost cube-shaped jellyfish called a box jellyfish. One member of the box jellyfish family has been identified as the sea wasp, but all members are very venomous. It has long, fine, trailing tentacles almost like hair, but filled with stinging cells or nematocysts that discharge their stingers at a touch. All jellyfish have them but not all are dangerous to humans.
No one was worrying about jellyfish because the girl was swimming in the Calliope River, miles from the ocean. She was stung on the legs but managed to tell her brother before she collapsed.
Her 13-year old brother pulled her on to the shore and she told him that she could not see or breathe. Moments later she fell unconscious with the tentacles still wrapped around her limbs.
The venom of the box jellyfish is so overpoweringly painful that victims often go in shock and drown or die of heart failure before reaching shore.
Five months later, Rachel Shardlow is still being treated for the aftereffects.