Deadly cone shell agony: 'I was convulsing in pain'

IMMENSE PAIN: Tourist boat Tongarra skipper Henry Moore is feeling better, after being stung by one of the world’s most venomous creatures.
IMMENSE PAIN: Tourist boat Tongarra skipper Henry Moore is feeling better, after being stung by one of the world’s most venomous creatures. Matthew Newton

WALKING barefoot in shallow water on Whitsunday Island, Henry Moore would have never thought he was in danger.

But this week, his luck changed when he stood on a venomous cone shell.

"(He) came out to pick me up and about three steps into the water to get into the boat I felt a very sharp pain in my foot and realised something jabbed me," he said.

But it was just the start to ongoing "agony", which resulted in the 25-year-old tourist boat Tongarra skipper, being airlifted to hospital.

"It started off where it had stung me, in between my fourth and fifth toe... The pain grew from my foot and then to my ankle...

"Then up my calf and to my knee.

"I started having ham-string cramps and then back spasms and it took over my whole body."

A quarter of an hour later, Mr Moore said the pain reached a new level.

He began to go in and out of consciousness.

"It was just immense, immense pain. I was convulsing in pain. I was screaming in agony," he said.

"The two hours felt like 15 hours to me.

"I couldn't move because the more I moved the more the venom spread through my blood flow."

A quarter of an hour later the CQ Rescue Helicopter Service arrived and winched him on board.

"They put an IV drip in for me and gave me some fentanyl (and) injected a local aesthetic into my toe," he said.

"I stopped convulsing and started thinking clearly… I had control of my body once the pain relief was in."

He was airlifted to the Mackay Base Hospital, but released later that day (Tuesday).

"I think it's a pure, fluke accident. I'm glad it was me and not one of my passengers," he said.

Mr Moore said his crew will now invest in satellite phones to be well prepared for any other emergency situations.



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