Tourism chiefs vow to improve safety after girl, seven, killed by jellyfish

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Seven-year-old Gaia Trimarchi Cabanlong was a junior swimming champion in Italy.

Philippine tourism chiefs have vowed to improve public safety after a seven-year-old Filipino-Italian girl died due to a jellyfish sting.

In a statement issued on Friday (August 3), the Department of Tourism said: “All our regional directors are likewise currently meeting to discuss ways in further improving engagement with all local government unit leaders in tourism sites in creating a safe and secure environment for our visitors.”

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The department also said it would extend full assistance to local governments so they can quickly set up safety measures to avoid another tragedy.

“An advisory regarding preventive steps and emergency response has been issued to all stakeholders in the region,” the statement added.

As we previously reported, seven-year-old Gaia Trimarchi Cabanlong died on Thursday, July 26, after she was stung by a box jellyfish while swimming off the waters in Sabitang-Laya Island, one of the stops of a Caramoan island hopping tour.

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Gaia, who is a swimming gold medalist in Italy, was enjoying her annual visit to the Philippines with her mother and extended family.

Gaia’s mother Romanita has told Roma Today that there were no first aid supplies on the boat to apply to the stings. Vinegar is a well-known treatment for jelly fish wounds, however, as this was unavailable the ship’s captain Edcel Alarcon applied gasoline instead.

Mrs Trimarchi also said that they had not been warned that there were jellyfish in the area. She said: “I hope it does not happen again. I hope they are more attentive to these things, that they talk to people or know that this place is dangerous, they should put first aid kits in every boat.

“My daughter died in my arms, we do not want this to happen to another child, another parent, I hope it will serve as a lesson.”

Gaia was declared dead on arrival at the Caramoan Municipal Hospital, which took about an hour to reach after the sting. The cause of death was given as anaphylactic shock — or extreme allergic reaction. 

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