Captain Bob Culhane of the Huntington Beach Fire Department is calling it “the most aggressive bee attack that I’ve been involved in.”
It happened at 9 a.m. on Saturday when firefighters got called to California’s Harriett Wieder Regional Park, according to CBS Los Angeles, who reported the story and interviewed the rescuers involved.
When they arrived, a cockapoo named Max and his owner, a 70-year-old woman who has not been named, were in the midst of being attacked by hundreds of bees.
“As soon as we all stepped out, the bees were all over us,” engineer Mike Farr told the station, “they just wouldn’t stop coming at you. I’m at the pump panel about 40 feet away and watching the whole thing, and I’m getting railed by bees in the head.”
The crew didn’t have time to put on protective gear, CBS Los Angeles said, so at least one firefighter suffered bites as they tried to help the victim. They had to hose the woman with a water and foam mixture that temporarily restricts their flight, a police department press release said.
“It was all we could do to get her to come from behind this fence,” Farr said, “about 50 feet towards us.”
The woman was taken to an ambulance although she was still “literally covered in bees. So her hair looked like she had dreadlocks,” Farr described.
The Ontario-based victim, who was not allergic to bees, suffered a couple hundred welts in the ordeal and wasn’t “up to” an on camera interview, CBS Los Angeles reported.
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While both dog and owner are okay, the station reported, the victim said in a phone interview that doctors had to pull bees out of her ears and nose.
“Public works stated there were no more bees in the area and it is unknown if it was a passing swarm or if there was a bee hive somewhere nearby,” the press release said.
“Huntington Beach Fire Department wants to remind everyone to be aware of their surroundings and if you come into contact with a swarm of bees, or a bee hive, act calmly and leave the area quickly and quietly.”