Two friends were hiking at Usery Mountain Park in Arizona when a thousand-strong swarm of killer bees approached without warning. The hikers began running for safety, but 23-year-old Alex Bestler was unable to get inside to a safe location in time. Alex’s friend ran into a bathroom where he promptly closed the door and hid from the killer bees; however, Bestler was unable to make it inside and was stung over one thousand times by the killer bees.
The Daily Mail reports that 23-year-old Alex Bestler died while hiking at Usery Mountain Park in Arizona after he was stung over one thousand times by a swarm of killer bees. The man was hiking with a friend when the swarm of killer bees attacked without warning. The friend says that the pair immediately began running from the swarm but that Alex was quickly overtaken by the swarm. The other hiker ran to a nearby bathroom where he locked himself in as the killer bees attacked outside.
Another hiker on the trail saw Bestler lying on the ground, still covered in bees, and attempted to offer aide. However, the hiker said that the bees were so aggressive that he was unable to help the man and called for help. A sheriff arrived to assist at the scene along with multiple park employees. The killer bees continued to attack, making it difficult to remove Bestler from the park to seek medical treatment.
Eventually, Bestler was able to be placed in a utility vehicle from the park and taken to a nearby hospital. However, the aggressive bees refused to leave Bestler’s body and the man was taken to the hospital with the bees still covering him. Despite the best efforts of the park employees and sheriff’s department, Bestler could not be saved from the multiple stings and would be pronounced dead a short time after arriving at the hospital.
According to the Washington Post, the incident took place at around 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, as Bestler and his friend hiked the Merkle Memorial Trail at Usery Mountain. The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office claims that the bees attacked suddenly and “without provocation.” Therefore, it is believed that the bees were “Africanized honeybees,” also known as killer bees. These bees are known for their aggressive behavior and unprovoked attacks.
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The sheriff says that everyone who tried to save Bestler was pushed back by the aggressive bees and that the recovery of the hiker was extremely difficult.
“Alex was located lying on the ground still covered by bees and he was not able to approach due to the aggressiveness of the bees. With the assistance of two Rural Metro Fire Fighters, Sgt. Romer was able to load Alex onto the UTV and remove him from the scene, still covered with bees, and a swarm pursuing. Upon arrival at the emergency vehicles’ location, the bees had dissipated to the point of safety, that fire personnel began life saving measures.”
Alex Bestler was unable to be revived and was pronounced dead from the bee stings. The coroner reports that over one thousand stings were found on Bestler’s body at the time of his death.
Following the killer bee death, park officials closed portions of the Usery Mountain Regional Park including the Merkle Trail, Vista Trail and surrounding bathrooms. A statement posted at the park encouraged visitors to remain out of the area until the bees were located and to enjoy other areas of the park instead.
“Due to aggressive bee activity, the following areas have been closed. Please do NOT enter these areas. The park has called in the experts to locate the bees. Until we have determined it is safe for park visitor use, the areas will remain closed. In the meantime, we hope you will explore and enjoy one of the many other trails at Usery Mountain Regional Park. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
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