On Sunday, five hikers on Linda Vista Trail in Oro Valley were attacked by a swarm of bees.
Pima County Sheriff’s Spokesman Jesus Banuelos said around 9:50 a.m. they received a call for assistance from the Golder Ranch Fire Department.
Upon arrival, deputies learned that the hikers, which included a 6-year-old boy, had gone to some rock formations off the trail, making it difficult for rescuers to get to them.
Banuelos said they called for helicopter assistance, to help the three deputies, equipped with bee suits, who had already gone to assist the hikers.
The 6-year-old boy presented the most concerns, according to Banuelos. The boy was drifting in and out of consciousness, and had been stung more than 100 times.
While working to rescue the hikers, Banuelos said one officer was also stung more than 30 times.
Banuelos credited the rescue to one of the deputies who remembered that a helicopter from another rescue helped disburse the bees. With the helicopter arrival, Banuelos said it was a lot easier to help the victims.
The hikers are said to be in good condition. The 6-year-old was kept over night in a local hospital for observation.
With temperatures increasing, Banuelos said this was not the first bee attack this season, as he urged residents to take caution while doing outdoor activities.
“Just be aware of your surroundings,” he said. “Stay clear of any swarm of bees and don’t do anything to agitate them.”
If a bee hive does start attacking, Banuelos said it’s important to remember not to swat at them because it only agitates the hive more.
“Just cover your face to maintain the ability to breathe,” he said. “You want to run or move quickly away because they are relentless in areas they are trying to defend.”
Banuelos said despite past beliefs, finding water is not as safe as one might think.
Once in the water, the bees will continue to wait to attack, which means a victim might be risking the chance of drowning, Banuelos said.