Deadly stinger sours best job in world

Wed Dec 30, 2009 7:43am EST
 
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SYDNEY (Reuters) - It may be tagged the "Best Job in the World," but it almost ended in tragedy for a British man who was stung by a deadly jellyfish as he jetskied around the Australian island he is caretaking and promoting.

Only days before his idyllic job comes to an end, Ben Southall said he was stung by a Irukandji, a tiny but deadly jellyfish, during a "post Christmas jetski session."

"I've avoided being boxed by a kangaroo, nibbled by a shark and bitten by a spider or a snake, but then in my final few days on Hamilton Island I fell foul of a minuscule little creature known as an irukandji," Southall wrote on his blog (www.islandreefjob.com/).

Southall won the "Best Job in the World," to live on Hamilton Island off tropical Queensland state, after a worldwide competition by Queensland state tourism.

Southall said at first he only felt a "small bee-like sting on my forearm," but shortly after felt hot and sweaty and started suffering headaches, a tight chest and high blood pressure.

Irukandji stings can cause cardiac arrest and death.

Island doctors treated Southall and he quickly recovered after a good night's sleep.

(Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by Ron Popeski)

 
<p>Winner of "The Best Job in the World" competition Ben Southall (R) of Britain and his girlfriend Breanna Watkins pose in their house on Hamilton Island, about 950km (590 miles) north of Brisbane, July 1, 2009. REUTERS/Queensland Tourism/Eddie Safarik/Handout</p>