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Sting of Spring: Bees attack on the trail

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

Sting of Spring: Bees attack on the trail

By Simone Del Rosario. CREATED May 12, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Five hikers were viciously attacked on the trail in Oro Valley. They were each stung more than 100 times. 

Shawn Degan is from Pima County Sheriff's Search and Rescue team. He rushed to the 6-year-old boy's side on the treacherous trail. 

"You could see the remnants of the stinger," Degan said. "It actually looks like a little thorn sticking out of him, like a splinter. His face, and the face of everybody up there, was covered."

Several agencies worked together to help the hikers. When the lifeline helicopter hovered over them, the blades actually chased the bees went away; but not for long.

"Anytime the helicopter would move, the bees would come back and aggressively attack the victims as well as the rescuers," said Will Seeley of Golder Ranch Fire District. 

Rescuers like Degan were stung around 40 times. They had to act fast, putting their own safety aside to save the hikers. 

"They had bee suits with them to assist in the rescue, but they never actually used the suits for themselves, and in fact gave them to the individuals they were rescuing in order to help them from being stung," said Jesus Banuelos of Pima County Sheriff's Department. 

In the end, this major rescue operation brought all five hikers down to safety. 

But these aggressive bees are constantly moving. Attacks can happen anywhere.

"As the weather gets warmer, this is when they're really active," Seeley said. "You never know when you're going to run up on a beehive."

Seeley says these rare attacks are becoming more frequent. 

Simone Del Rosario

Simone Del Rosario

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Simone is the KGUN 9 On Your Side resident cowgirl. She has spent most of her life on the back of a horse, and spent all of her high school and college years traveling from rodeo to rodeo with her horses and her dog, Roper.