The mother of a 14-year-old child who died after being stung by a box jellyfish has described how she witnessed her little son fight for his life.
On Saturday, the family was having fun at the famed Eimeo Beach in Mackay, central Queensland, when Mark Angelo Ligmayo, 14, was stung.
Agnes, his mother, said her son emerged from the ocean with two-metre-long tentacles wrapped around his arms and legs before falling on the beach.
Mrs Guinumtad stood there in disbelief as beachgoers and surf life savers rushed to conduct life-saving CPR on her 14-year-old, who was groaning in pain.
He’d been in the waist-high water for only 10 minutes when he got stung.
She told the Courier Mail, “I could see my son’s face, and I could feel the sorrow.”
‘I kept praying and praying, I didn’t stop praying. I prayed that he would say something.’
The grief-stricken mother described the anguish of watching her son writhe in pain before going into cardiac arrest.
The teenager had arrived in Queensland just three months before the horror jellyfish encounter after his family decided to start a new life in Australia.
Mark Angelo, along with his mother Agnes Guinumtad and sister Nickole Guinumtad, had been reunited with his father Nick Guinumtad after three years apart.
They celebrated their first Christmas as a family in three years in December and despite being in quarantine said it was one of their happiest memories.
Mrs Guinumtad said Mark Angelo had been excited to start at Mackay State High School and had dreams of joining the army.
The 14-year-old loved riding his bike to school and had been close with his little sister, who will turn six without her older brother next month.
Mark Angelo was rushed to Mackay Base Hospital at 3.22pm on Saturday, where he sadly died an hour later.
Kirby Dash said she was at the beach celebrating her mother’s birthday when she saw Mark Angelo come out of the water.
Ms Dash said she saw the teen stumble from waist-deep water with an ‘unreadable expression on his face’ before groaning for help, The Daily Mercury reported.
‘He had gone into shock,’ she said. ‘His legs were covered in tentacles.’
She said lifeguards and bystanders rushed to his aid as parents screamed at their children to get out of the water.
A group of young men and Ms Dash’s brother helped lifeguards give first aid while beachgoers offered water and towels.
Eimeo Surf Life Saving Club president Ross Gee said the teen was doused with 30 litres of vinegar as the group tried to remove the stingers from his legs and hand.
‘We were there as he exited the water, quickly after that he was semi-conscious,’ he said.
Paramedics arrived at the scene and spent over 40 minutes resuscitating Mark Angelo before he was taken to hospital.
His parents have thanked those who worked so hard to save their son and cared for their daughter throughout the chaos of the afternoon.
Mrs Guinumtad hopes to take her son’s body back to the Phillipines where his beloved grandmother can see his face one last time.
The tragedy is the third box jellyfish fatality since 2006, when a 17-year-old was stung near Cape York in Queensland’s far north in February last year.
Police said surf live saving crews had finished a net sweep for jellyfish on the beach just 15 minutes before the incident.
The beach will be closed for the rest of the weekend and residents have been told to stay out of the water.
This article by Olivia Day and Miriah Davis was first published by The Daily Mail on 27 February 2022. Lead Image: The boy’s death is the third box jellyfish (pictured, stock photo) fatality since 2006; a 17-year-old was fatally stung near Cape York in Australia’s far north in February 2021.
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