ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. – A California woman was critically injured after being stung “hundreds of times” by a swarm of bees in Lake Forest Monday morning, and three others – including two firefighters – were also injured, officials said.
The incident occurred about 10:25 a.m. when firefighters responded to a report of a bee sting in the 23000 block of Buckland Lane, the Orange County Fire Authority tweeted.
“Units arrived on scene and they found her basically completely covered with bees from head to toe,” Fire Authority Capt. Tony Bommarito told KTLA.
The swarm was so severe that firefighters didn’t have time to put the special safety gear on that they would normally wear while responding to such incidents, according to Bommarito.
“They got out, they started felling the bees, they saw the patient down this cul-de-sac completely covered – her face was completely covered with bees,” he said.
They grabbed an extinguisher in an effort to remove the bulk of the bees off of the victim, then “basically dragged” her to a safe area about 200 yards away, according to the fire captain.
“She was basically non-responsive” to firefighter commands, although she could still move, Bommarito said.
The woman, described as being about 50 years old, was stung “hundreds of times,” according to a tweet from the Fire Authority. She was taken to a hospital in critical condition.
The firefighters were stung “multiple times” and taken to a hospital in stable condition.
A few hours after, an ambulance was sent to the home to transport the homeowner, who was also stung but didn’t feel or complain about symptoms until later. Her condition was not immediately known.
Officials said a bee expert removed a “large bee hive” from bushes in the area, but the stinging insects were still flying around the area in the mid-afternoon hours.