Bees attack wheelchair-bound man in US

2011-09-16 14:28

Los Angeles - Thousands of angry bees swarmed a man in a wheelchair, sending him and three others who came to his aid to the hospital in the Southern California city of Santa Ana.

The attack also shut down a street and forced the evacuation of several businesses while beekeepers removed the hive, which was estimated to contain 60 000 bees.

The trouble started at a storage yard when a man in a wheelchair apparently disturbed the hive, causing the bees to bombard him, Santa Ana fire Captain Steven Snyder said.

"He was attacked and stung over 60 times and had fallen out of the wheelchair and was yelling for help," Snyder said.

The man's cries attracted the attention of three bystanders who ran to his aid.

The bees were so aggressive that the three men had to retreat initially, but they dove back in and managed to pull the man to safety, Snyder said.

The men were stung dozens of times during the "very impressive" rescue, he said.

"They probably saved his life," Snyder said.

All 4 taken to hospital

All four men had difficulty breathing and suffered rashes, nausea and vomiting. They were taken to hospitals and at least two of the men were released on Thursday night, Snyder said.

He didn't know their conditions or if the man in the wheelchair was still hospitalised. No names were released, but Snyder estimated all four men were in their 40s.

Two firefighters who responded to the scene also were stung.

Snyder said DNA tests were planned to determine if the bees were Africanised because of their aggressive behaviour.

The bee attack wasn't the first to make headlines this week.

On Wednesday, Africanised bees swarmed several farm animals and killed a 450kg hog at a farm in Bisbee, Arizona. An 360kg pregnant sow also was stung so many times that it went into a coma and lost its litter.

In northern Arizona, a 49-year-old man remained hospitalised after authorities say he disturbed bees nesting under a cattle trough on Sunday and was stung more than 1 000 times.

- AP

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