Deadly bee attack shocks neighborhood

CREATED Jul 13, 2011

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Reporter:  Jessica Chapin

TUCSON (KGUN9- TV) - A Tucson man is dead after he was attacked by a swarm of killer bees.  It happened last Friday at Juaquin Murietta Park off Silverbell Rd.  Tuesday, an autopsy confirmed 46-year-old Oscar Navarro died from the venom of hundreds of bee stings. 

After several attempts searching for the hive, exterminators were able to rid the park of the bees Wednesday afternoon.  The Boys and Girls club building nearby closed early for the extermination as a precautions.

It all started Friday afternoon when the Tucson Fire Department got a call from a woman in her car who said a man had been stung by bees.  They arrived on scene four minutes later, protecting him with their own gear and spraying the bees with foam to kill them.  Navarro still couldn't be saved.

"He was covered in bees so much that you couldn't even see him really," said Tucson Fire Capt. Trish Tracy, "These bees are so aggressive it looks like the man could've been covered in bees in just a matter of seconds."

Now, the bees are gone but the fear remains.  Darin Blakely coaches a little league baseball camp at the park and has seen the bees before around Tucson.

"It's kind of like a dark cloud that comes and somebody will see it and say bees and everybody hits the ground," he said.  Now, he's keeping an eye out for his young players.

"We gave out Popsicles int he middle of camp and we had bees come and land on the kids because the Popsicles drip down on their hands," he said, "so this week we're having them throw everything away real quick and go over here and get some water to clean their hands off."

Tracy says the best thing anyone can do in the presence of bees is stay away or go indoors.  Do not wear strong perfume and keep food covered outside.  If they do attack, she says cover your nose and mouth with an article of clothing and get help.

"This is very frustrating for us because we make every attempt to keep everybody in our community safe and to respond as timely as we can with the resources that we have," she said, recalling the bee attack, "and it's just a very sad sad thing."

Tracy says Tucson sees about one killer bee death a year but they respond to several close calls.