SINGAPORE: A 38-year-old German man was stung by a stingray at Sentosa's Tanjong Beach on Mar 28, one of two beach-goers stung in separate incidents that day.
In a post on Nature Society (Singapore)’s Facebook page on Saturday (Apr 3), Mr Benjamin Koellmann said he was playing in the water with his wife and young sons when he was stung at around 6pm.
Mr Koellmann, who is the chief operating officer of used car e-commerce platform Carsome, told CNA that the sting “felt very powerful, like getting hit on the ankle with a hammer”.
He said lifeguards at the beach responded quickly and were "calm and reassuring". An ambulance was called and took him to Singapore General Hospital (SGH).
“What followed was three nights in the hospital and some of the most intense nerve pain I’ve felt in my life,” Mr Koellmann said. This was “despite constant and generous doses of heavy painkillers” including morphine, he added.
The lifeguards who helped him and an SGH doctor mentioned they had seen “another case with the exact same injury on the same afternoon”. That incident happened at Siloso Beach, Mr Koellmann was told.
A week after the incident, “the pain is pretty much gone and I can only see a small scar from the sting”, Mr Koellmann said.
Mr Koellmann, who has been living in Singapore for three-and-a-half years, said Sentosa has not contacted him in “any official capacity”, although one of the lifeguards called him to check on how he was doing.
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In its reply to CNA’s queries, the Sentosa Development Corporation said beach patrol officers “responded to two guests’ requests for first-aid assistance on Mar 28, 2021, during which the guests reported marine stings”.
"As a variety of marine life such as stingrays are common in Singapore’s waters, guests are urged to be vigilant and take precautions when swimming at the beaches," a spokesperson said.
Signs have also been put up along Sentosa's beaches to remind guests to be mindful of marine life, she added.
Stingrays are commonly found in Singapore's shallow coastal waters, said Mr Ryan Lee, group director of the National Biodiversity Centre at the National Parks Board, adding that members of the public should not approach the sea creatures.
"They should also be aware that stingrays are especially difficult to spot when buried under sediment. As such, the public should be aware of their surroundings when wading in coastal waters," said Mr Lee.
"If stung by a stingray or any other fish that causes severe pain, one should call 995 and seek medical attention immediately."
On the stingray that stung him, Mr Koellmann said: “Not sure if it was hurt (when I stepped on it). Hopefully it escaped with only a scare.”