Thirty-year-old Rameshwar Gupta was the first victim of a jellyfish attack on Juhu beach. Civil defence personnel spring into action to keep revellers, especially children, out of the water
Heavy rains coupled with high tide over the last few days have been a dampener for locals who like to enjoy a walk on the Juhu beach. But to add to their misery, venomous Blue Bottles, a type of jellyfish, have started swarming the popular tourist destination.
Blue Bottles are usually found in deep waters. Pic/Shailesh Bhatia
Thirty-year-old Rameshwar Gupta, a businessman from Indore, who is in Mumbai to celebrate his wife Preeti’s birthday, sustained extensive stings on his right ankle after he was stung by these jellyfish on Saturday afternoon. “I’m in a lot of pain, which is shooting up right from my ankle to my thighs and stomach,” Gupta told sunday mid-day.
Senior BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation) lifeguard, Manohar Shetty, discovered the first batch of Blue Bottles on Juhu beach at around 7 am on Saturday. “We informed the BMC’s control room and the civic health department and requested them to dispatch emergency first aid, comprising oral tablets and lotion, to ease Gupta’s pain and also reduce the symptoms of the sting,” informed Shetty.
Influx of Blue Bottles
Ketan Gandhi, a computer engineer by profession, who also volunteers as a civil defence, search and rescue officer on Juhu beach, later rushed Gupta to Cooper Hospital. He said that in the next couple of days, the number of Blue Bottles might multiply. “These jellyfish have a transparent bubble on top and look like bottles. One is often tempted to touch them, without realising the implications,” said Gandhi.
Ganesh Vichare, a senior fireman who heads the rescue team on Juhu beach, said that though there was no information on the presence of Blue Bottles on other city beaches, authorities will take security measures to ensure that Eid and Diwali revellers are not stung by these jellyfish. “We may seek help from the Mumbai Police to help us control the crowd,” he said.
Shankar Gajbaje, marine biologist and officer-in-charge of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), informed that the Blue Bottles are usually found in deep water, but due to their light weight, they are often pushed to the shore by strong currents.
“A Blue Bottle sting may lead to an allergic reaction in humans, leading to fever. It can also hamper the functioning of heart and lungs,” informed Gajbaje.