Stonefish takes sting out of Craig's day

CRAIG Chapman thought he had cut his foot but, as the seconds passed, the pain grew more and more intense.

He knew something was wrong.

The Observer photographer had waded in from kite surfing at the mouth of the Boyne River on Saturday when he stood on a stone fish.

"I thought I'd just cut my foot,'' Craig said.

"I'd just come in and hadn't had a worry. I thought 'oh crap I've stood on the only bloody rock on the beach.'

"It started to hurt more than a cut.''

Someone suggested it may have been a stonefish and, with the pain still growing, Craig hobbled up the beach and was treated by ambulance officers.

"I think I used up my quota of swear words getting from the beach to the ambulance,'' he said.

"It shoots up your leg. It was like a hot pain.

"On a scale of one to 10 I reckon it was an eight and a half.

"If my legs had been ripped off I reckon that would be a 10.''

"The most pain I felt was at the ambulance station.

"They put it in hot water and gave me an anaesthetic.''

Fortunately he still had the presence of mind to take a photograph.

Craig was still receiving morphine for the pain yesterday and his foot remained swollen and sore.

Wide Bay Marine Stinger Officer and Tannum Sands chief training officer Steve McMutrie said stonefish were relatively common in the area.

"Anywhere there are rocks they can be around,'' Mr McMutrie said.

"They're around but I wouldn't like to say how many.

"I've found them in the rocks on the second Tannum beach and at the mouth of the Wild Cattle Creek.

"The biggest I've seen is 300mm.

"They do camouflage themselves very well.''

Mr McMutrie suggested swimmers stay away from the rocks.

He also said if beachgoers or boaties were walking near rocks or even on the boat ramps to wear hard soled shoes, not thongs.

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