Bee attack injures 5 hikers on trail near Oro Valley

2013-05-13T00:00:00Z 2013-05-28T13:34:29Z Bee attack injures 5 hikers on trail near Oro ValleyCarmen Duarte Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
May 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The latest Southern Arizona bee attack hospitalized three people over the weekend.

Five hikers, including a 6-year-old boy, were attacked Sunday morning as they hiked the Linda Vista Trail, near North Oracle Road and East Calle Concordia. The trail heads into the Pusch Ridge Wilderness in the Catalina Mountains.

The boy was stung more than 100 times and exhibited symptoms of shock. The four men were estimated to be stung more than 150 times, authorities said.

The child was treated by Golder Ranch Fire District paramedics and taken to University of Arizona Medical Center-University Campus and was in stable condition Sunday afternoon, said Battalion Chief William Seeley, a spokesman for Golder Ranch.

"He will be monitored for the next 12 to 24 hours," Seeley said.

Two other men were taken in stable condition to Oro Valley Hospital, Seeley said. The other two refused to be taken to a hospital, authorities said.

The child was alert and responsive during the rescue, said Deputy Jesus Bañuelos, a Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman.

"It appears the bees came out of nowhere and attacked them," Bañuelos said.

Golder Ranch Fire District firefighters called the Sheriff's Department shortly before 10 a.m. requesting assistance in the rescue, Bañuelos said.

Three deputies arrived with bee suits and hiked up the trail to reach the group, which was on a rock formation, Bañuelos said.

A medical helicopter, which could not land in the rough terrain, assisted rescuers by hovering for 45 minutes over the area to pinpoint the hikers' location.

The chopper also helped disperse the bees, Bañuelos said.

When deputies reached the rock formation, they gave the bee suits to the hikers, who were still being stung, Bañuelos said.

The boy was carried out and rushed to the hospital, he said.

Bañuelos said he did not know if any of the hikers were related.

Southern Arizona Rescue Association, Oro Valley Police Department and Northwest Fire District also helped in the operation.

This is among several bee attacks in the Tucson area and Southern Arizona in recent weeks.

Last week, Tucson rock climber Steven Johnson was killed in a bee attack near Mount Hopkins in the Santa Rita Mountains south of Tucson.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or cduarte@azstarnet.com

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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