A Burdekin man stood on a stone fish and was forced to wait for hours until help could arrive. .
A Burdekin man stood on a stone fish and was forced to wait for hours until help could arrive. .

Oyster hunter left for hours in agony

A MAN stung by a stone fish was told to "put your foot in hot water and ride it out".

Burdekin man Ross Pirrone was left in agony after standing on a stonefish while hunting for oysters on the shores of Cape Upstart on Saturday evening.

He said after feeling only an initial sting, the pain gradually became worse when the decision was made to call paramedics, who said they did not have a helicopter available to fly him to hospital.

The tides meant he was also unable to be boated back to Molongle Creek, the nearest access to the mainland. He said he was told to "put your foot in hot water and ride it out".

Burdekin man Ross Pirrone was left in agony after he was stung by a stonefish and unable to access medical attention.
Burdekin man Ross Pirrone was left in agony after he was stung by a stonefish and unable to access medical attention.

Mr Pirrone said while his incident was not life-threatening, "if it was a little kid that got stung by an irukandji" the story could be different.

Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Burdekin crew were also impacted by the lack of access from Molongle Creek on Friday when they were forced to launch on an outgoing tide and from a boat ramp more than 70km by road away from Molongle Creek.

VMR Burdekin initially had to evacuate a man with arm injuries and untangle two boats' anchor ropes near Cape Upstart but were left out on the water overnight on Friday while the man was flown to Townsville University Hospital.

VMR Burdekin duty officer Vince Papale said if crews had the ability to launch from Molongle Creek there was a potential the man would not have needed to be flown to hospital.

"Had we had the ability to depart Molongle Creek, it would have been a completely different deployment and … we probably would have had the paramedic on board and we wouldn't have had the crew stuck out there as long," he said.

"I continue to be amazed by the efforts that VMR volunteers make and the lengths they will go to make jobs happen regardless of the situations they are confronted with."

Molongle Creek. Picture: SUPPLIED
Molongle Creek. Picture: SUPPLIED

The weekend's incidents have renewed community concern that promised tide mitigation works at the creek had not been done.

The boat ramp at Molongle Creek is considered the most direct access to Cape Upstart's more than 200 holiday properties and in 2017 was the subject of a $5m commitment from both major parties to create an all-tide access channel.

Molongle Creek Boat Club project officer Joe Linton, who spearheaded much of the campaign to see all-tide access to the facility, said the club was yet to lobby candidates for the coming election.

Originally published as Oyster hunter left for hours in agony


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