Louisiana man dies after 1,000+ bees attack in Arizona
PHOENIX - A Louisiana man died Thursday after he and a friend were attacked by bees while hiking in Arizona.
Medical examiners reported 23-year-old Alex Bestler, of Elton, Louisiana, was stung more than 1,000 times by the bees.
Bestler and his friend were hiking the Merkle Trail near Mesa, Arizona when the large swarm of bees appeared without warning. Investigators said the friend was able to make it to a nearby restroom safely, but Bestler was overtaken by the swarm before he could take shelter, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.
Another hiker and park employees tried to come to Bestler’s aid and found him on the ground covered in bees. The aggressiveness of the swarm forced them to stay back, according to deputies.
Firefighters, a sheriff’s office sergeant, park employees and the other hiker were finally able to move the man onto a utility-terrain vehicle while he was still covered in stinging bees.
Bestler was taken to an area hospital, where he was later pronounced dead by the coroner.
The local sheriff’s office reported that the area on the trail where the hikers were attacked was closed to the public on Thursday afternoon for evaluation.
“These attacks are becoming more frequent and I urge the public to be aware of their surroundings when out in these areas," Sheriff Joe Arpaio said in a statement.