AN Australian teenager who went for a dip at a beach in Melbourne on Saturday came out of the water with his legs soaked in blood after reportedly being attacked by “flesh-eating” sea lice.
According to Australian broadcaster ABC, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay, felt sore after playing football on Saturday when he decided to soak his legs at a beach in Brighton just before 6.30pm.
After about half an hour of wading through the water, Kanizay walked out with what his family described as tiny creatures feeding off his legs, almost like a scene straight out of a horror film.
“I walked out and saw what I thought was sand covering my calf and shook it off, Kanizay was quoted as saying.
By the time I’d walked across the sand about 20m to put my thongs on, I looked down and noticed blood all over my ankles.”
The teenager said he did not feel any pain when walking out from the beach. He said he went home and took a shower without any unusual sensation.
“[I couldn’t feel anything] because the cold water basically numbed my legs, I felt what I thought was pins and needles,” he said.
“It sort of looked like hundreds of little pinholes or pin-sized bites distributed all over my ankle and the top of my foot,” he said.
“We’ve had a few people just guessing it was sea lice … but there was no real evidence to say what it was.”
Kanizay’s father Jarrod said the teenager was rushed to the hospital after he started bleeding profusely.
At first, Jarrod said hospital staff were at a loss with what had happened when they first arrived.
“They’ve called a number of people, whether it’s toxicity experts or marine experts and other medics around Melbourne at least … [and] yep, no one [knows],” he said.
Following the incident, the father went back to the beach to capture the creatures believed to be responsible.
He also shot a video of the creatures digging in on pieces of raw steak,
“What is really clear is these little things really love meat,” he said.
The ABC also quoted Dolphin Research Institute executive director Jeff Weir as saying he had also faced a similar experience with the “sea lice” during a scuba diving outing.
The culprit, the marine biologist said, was most likely a shrimp-like crustacean known as amphipods.
“It was very cold, probably, about this time of year, and when I got out of the water I realised my forehead was bleeding and parts of my cheeks were bleeding,” he said.
“At night, the little amphipods, these little tiny crustaceans, they all swarm into your light.
“They had crawled in under my wetsuit hood and into my beard and chewed away, very similar to what happened to this young lad.”