SEVEN people have been stung in Benidorm by the deadly Portuguese Man O’War.
Three beaches in the popular resort city were temporarily closed after two of the jellyfish-like creatures were spotted on Sunday.
The first was seen at Mal Pas beach, a cove between the city’s two main beaches.
The second was spotted at the popular Levante beach.
The two beaches, along with the popular Poniente beach, were all closed until waters were deemed safe by authorities.
Five of seven stung sunbathers have now been taken to hospital, though injuries are reportedly ‘minor’.
Monica Gomez, Benidorm’s Councillor for Beaches, confirmed: “Benidorm Town Hall yesterday morning activated a Portuguese Man O’War protocol after two were found off town beaches.
“The creatures were removed by lifeguards.
“As a precautionary measure bathing was banned and the red flag hoisted for an hour at the main Levante and Poniente beaches, and for more than two hours at Mal Pas beach.
“We have acted swiftly and diligently and banned bathing until we were sure there were no more Portuguese Man O’War in the water.
“The Mediterranean coast is not the usual habitat of these false jellyfish, so their presence is fortunately fleeting.”
The incidents are the first reports this season of Man O’War stings in the Valencian Community.
The Portuguese Man O’War is often mistaken for a jellyfish, but is actually a species of siphonophore – a group of closely-related animals.
Their tentacles are filled with coiled, barbed tubes that deliver venom capable of paralysing and killing small fish and crustaceans.
They are rarely deadly to people but can be dangerous to children, elderly people, asthmatics and people with allergies as they can cause fever, shock and respiratory distress.
It comes after a Spanish woman was stung during an afternoon swim in Lorca, on the Costa del Sol, last week.
Naomi Mateos, 22 was swimming just 10 metres (32ft) from the Puntas de Calnegre beach in when the creature’s tentacles wrapped around her arms, back and breasts.
Mateos says the pain left her ‘wanting to die’, and shared shocking pictures of the red welts that scarred her body from the stings.