OSSIAN, Ind. – A swarm of up to 100,000 angry honey bees sent 10 people to the hospital including the driver of an SUV that hit a hollow tree in northeast Indiana, disturbing a hive.
"Those bees were mad," said Ossian Volunteer Fire Chief Kent Gilbert, who was stung at least 50 times Tuesday afternoon when he tried to pull the car's driver from the wreckage. "I've never seen bees, especially honeybees, attack like that."
By the time rescuers arrived, a black cloud of buzzing insects had engulfed the car, forcing firefighters to wear full safety gear — complete with oxygen tanks and face masks — with temperatures in the 90s.
Safety workers doused the bees with water and foam while they tried to extricate Cossairt, who was taken by helicopter to a nearby hospital with broken legs and multiple bee stings. She was remained at Lutheran Hospital Thursday morning.
A neighbor, along with a paramedic and seven firefighters, were also hospitalized for bee stings and heat-related symptoms.
"It was terrible," said Master Trooper Bob Brophy, commander of the Indiana State Police's Fort Wayne post. "You can't really train for that. You don't really know. You look for downed power lines. You don't look for a million bees."
Bee expert Stan Grove, a biology professor a Goshen College, said the insects are most active in warm weather when they furiously fan their wings to cool the temperature of the hive.
"They don't like to be jostled," Grove said.