PHOENIX - A man hiking on the Merkle Trail at Usery Mountain Park died after being stung more than a thousand times by bees.
The incident happened around 9 a.m. Thursday.
The man was identified by the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office as Alex Bestler, who was visiting from Louisiana.
Bestler was hiking with a friend named Sonya when, according to deputies, "Without provocation or warning, a large swarm of bees descended on both of them ... "
According to a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office release:
"A Good Samaritan went back to the area Sonya described to check on Alex. 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. The first park employees arrived and attempted to approach Alex, but were forced back by the bees. As Alex was covered by bees, a second attempt to approach was unsuccessful due to the hostility of the bees. Sgt. Romer with the Sheriff’s Lake Patrol arrived on scene, assumed possession of a park Utility Vehicle, and drove to Alex’s location.
"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 was transported to Desert Vista Hospital, where he was later pronounced deceased."
The area of the park where this occurred is now closed so it can be evaluated by park personnel.
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