Fears deadly jellyfish could have killed couple snorkelling in Australia

Updated: 

Fears deadly jellyfish could have killed couple snorkelling in Australia


A couple who drowned while snorkelling in Western Australia could have been stung by jellyfish, authorities say.

Kathleen Ricketson's body washed up at Elle's Beach south of Coral Bay on Wednesday afternoon.

Her two children, 10 and 13, were on the beach and watched as beachgoers tried to save their 41-year-old mother's life.

Their father Rob Shrugg, 48, who was in the sea, disappeared and the search for him was called off after five days.

According to the Daily Telegraph, police were not treating their deaths as suspicious.

Authorities are considering tiny Irukandji jellyfish as a cause of death.

The Australian reports that last month the Department of Environment and Conservation issued a warning that the small jellyfish had reached Ningaloo Reef and that some people had been hospitalised.

The department advised swimmers to take extreme caution or stay out of the water.

Police told The Australian that ruling Irukandji in or out was a priority.

Ms Ricketson's body was flown to Perth yesterday to determine the cause of death.

Irukandji jellyfish are one of the world's most venomous creatures. The tiny jellyfish grow no bigger than a match head but are able to fire stingers into their victims, causing severe pains, vomiting and increased heart rate and blood pressure.

Related articles

British holidaymaker scarred for life by jellyfish in Thailand

Terror on Spanish beaches as mauve jellyfish invade

Boy stung by deadly tropical creature on beach in Cornwall

World's deadliest animals

World's deadliest animals