A 23-year-old Louisiana man died after being attacked by bees Thursday when he and a friend were hiking in Usery Mountain Park in Mesa, Arizona.
According to a press release from The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Alex Bestler of Elton and his friend Sonya were hiking the Merkle Trail when a large swarm of bees appeared without warning.
His friend was able to get to safety by making it into a nearby restroom, but Bestler was overtaken by the bees before he could get to shelter, the release stated.
A park employee and another hiker found Bestler lying on the ground covered in bees, but they were unable to get near him because of the bees’ aggressiveness.
Eventually the hiker, park employees, two Rural Metro firefighters and Sgt. Romer with the Sheriff’s Lake Patrol were able to move him onto a park utility vehicle with the bees still on him.
Bestler was transported to Desert Vista Hospital, where he later was pronounced dead. A medical exam determined he had been stung more than 1,000 times.
According to the release Sgt. Romer received first aid treatment for multiple bee strings but has returned to duty.
“I commend Sgt. Romer for risking his life trying to save the victim. 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.