DEADLY: A cone snail.
DEADLY: A cone snail.

Man recovering after cone snail sting

HENRY James Moore will never forget the day he was stung by a cone snail off Whitsunday Island, near famous Whitehaven Beach.

The 25-year-old skipper of the tourist boat Tongarra had been walking barefoot in shallow water when the cone snail harpoon penetrated his skin.

The Mackay-based RACQ CQ Rescue team received an urgent callout just before 11.30am on Tuesday, with information Mr Moore was experiencing respiratory failure.

Cone snail venom can cause localised pain, swelling, vomiting and in severe cases muscle paralysis, vision impairment, respiratory failure and even death.

"The pain started to creep up my calf muscle and then my knee," Mr Moore said.

"I started having hamstring cramps and then back spasms and it sort of took over my whole body over 40minutes."

Mr Moore was transferred by inflatable boat to the RACQ CQ Rescue helicopter that had landed on a narrow patch of sand at Tongue Bay.

RACQ CQ Rescue crew officer Ethan Clissold explained that with the incoming tide, the landing site was fast becoming compromised.

"If we had any delays in getting him on the helicopter so the medical team could stabilise and administer pain relief, we would have needed to rethink our landing strategy, wasting precious time in the process," he said.

The mission was completed in less than two hours, with Mr Moore admitted to the Mackay Base Hospital for pain relief before being released at 7pm that night.

"That two hours felt like 15 hours to me," Mr Moore said, adding this was a "pure, fluke accident".

"(But) I'm glad it was me and not one of my passengers," he said.


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