Sam Kanizay
Sam Kanizay

An Australian teenager emerged from a night-time dip in the ocean with blood streaming from his feet and ankles in a gruesome mystery that doctors have struggled to explain.

Sam Kanizay waded waist-deep into the water at Brighton Beach in suburban Melbourne on Saturday evening, standing still for about 30 minutes. When he came out of the sea he was bleeding profusely from the calves down.

“The cold water numbed my legs. I felt what I thought was pins and needles, but maybe it wasn’t just pins and needles,” the 16-year-old told 3AW radio yesterday. Washing the blood off his legs in the shower did little to stem the flow from what his family believed was an attack by sea lice.

Kanizay said doctors could not explain what had caused the injury. But Jeff Weir, from the Dolphin Research Institute, said the injury was likely caused by opportunistic amphipods, a tiny crustacean that latches onto decaying plant or animal matter to help break it down.