A teenager from Melbourne, Australia made headlines after a mysterious sea creature began to eat him alive.
Sam Kanizay, 16, went for a swim in the ocean at Dendy Street Beach in Brighton after a football match when he noticed a tingling sensation on his feet. When he looked down he noticed his feet were covered in blood.
The teenager initially assumed he had cut his feet on a rock. As he walked from the shore he noticed dozens of tiny holes covering his feet and ankles. “It sort of looked like hundreds of little pin holes, or pin type bites, distributed all over my ankle and the top of my foot,” Kanizay said.
Try as he might, Kanizay couldn’t stop the bleeding and was rushed to the hospital. What followed was a series of wild speculations that quickly went viral.
The doctors couldn’t explain what caused Kanizay’s injuries, but they were certain it was some sort of sea creature. “I’ve been doing this for coming on 20 years now and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said marine expert Michael Brown on Channel Seven’s Sunrise. One nurse claimed that jelly fish larva were responsible while others believed it was sea lice or sand fleas.
“We had the emergency room full of everybody that was working there just fascinated, they were all on Google afterwards, hypothesising as to what happened. They pretty much had 10 different hypotheses but nothing yet,” Sam’s father Jarrod told The Age.
Determined to find out what was eating his son, Jarrod Kanizay went back to the beach with a net and some raw meat. He took a video of what he found.
“I caught some bugs overnight over in the bay. I’ve put meat into a net and they’ve grabbed on to that like no tomorrow,” he said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “We’ve brought them home and they’ve just attached themselves to this meat. They’ve sucked the life out of it – all the blood. They’re mite type creatures. One would assume these are the bugs that have grabbed on to him in their thousands.”
Jarrod has taken the bugs to the hospital where he and his son await a proper identification.
Sam said he doesn’t plan to stop swimming anytime soon. “Plenty of people go for a swim in there so it’s probably just a one-off thing,” he said.
UPDATE: Museum Victoria marine scientist Dr. Genefore Walker-Smith has identified the bugs as sea fleas. She told The Age that the fleas themselves aren’t uncommon, but the number of bites is.
“They’re there all the time; you could put a piece of meat in the water, anywhere in the bay, and you could find them,” she said. “I think this is quite a rare thing. I really just think [Sam] was in the wrong place at the wrong time, probably.”
A spokesman with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning advised swimmers to “wear a wetsuit with boots to reduce the risk of being exposed to sea fleas and avoid swimming at night.”