A US landscaper met a grim accidental death on Thursday after being attacked by a giant swarm of bees as he hung suspended from a tree.
According to The Independent, Franco Galvan Martinez of Texas disturbed a beehive while attempting to do landscaping work in a yard. The 53-year-old was up on a ladder and hooked into a harness connected to a tree when things took a frightening turn.
Speaking to KXAN News, Joe Maldonado, an eyewitness of the incident, said that Mr Martinez disturbed the hive as he worked at a home in Austin and accidentally kicked away the ladder beneath him. The insects then immediately began to swarm around and attack the 53-year-old, and in the ensuing chaos, the landscaper became trapped in midair due to the harness.
"I guess in [a] panic trying to swat away the bees from himself, he kicked away the ladder," Mr Maldonado told KXAN News, as per Independent. He added that the hive was “so ginormous” that it literally covered Mr Martinez instantly.
Mr Maldonado said that two of the victim's co-workers below also tried to help the landscraper but they ended up getting stung themselves. Emergency services were called to the scene, following which the firefighters used their hoses to clear the bees that were still swarming around Mr Martinez. However, Mr Maldonado said, “For over 10 minutes, all they could do was endure hearing his (Mr Martinez) anguish.”
The man's family and friends confirmed that an autopsy is pending. Mr Martinez was working for Bill Biggadike & Associates, a landscape and lightning business based in Texas. The company confirmed that one of its workers had died, but made no other comments.
Now, the Austin Code Department, which regulates things like the handling of beehives in the city, has been assigned the incident and an inspector will be investigating the case.
Meanwhile, it is to mention that according to a professional beehive remover, in the case of a bee attack, you have to keep moving and try to get indoors or into a vehicle. Under no circumstances do you stop moving. As per Independent, professional beehive removers have explained that after bees sting a person or animal they release alarm pheromones that signal other bees to join the attack.