ANKARA, Turkey – A van carrying beehives crashed into a truck on Monday, and huge swarms of bees broke free and stung the injured and rescue workers at the scene.
In the end, about 20 people were taken to hospitals, six of them injured in the crash and the rest the rescue workers who were stung by the bees, said the state-run Anatolia news agency.
One of the crash victims later died, but it was not immediately known if he had been killed by the impact of the accident or the insect attacks, said local Gov. Ahmet Altinparmak.
The rescue workers — including local beekeepers summoned to the scene — used hoses, blankets and rags to try to ward off the bees. But it took about an hour for them to remove the crash victims from the chaotic scene, Anatolia said.
The van hit the stationary truck on a road near the Mediterranean resort of Marmaris in southwestern Turkey, injuring four people in the van and two in the truck, Anatolia said. The impact burst open the bee hives in the van.
The bees swarmed over the injured and police, medics and firefighters who responded to the accident, forcing authorities to seek the help of about 50 beekeepers in the area.
As the crash victims waited for help, bees swarmed over them, Anatolia said.
The news agency's video footage showed men in beekeeping clothing placing an injured man — also in protective gear — onto a stretcher in a swarm of bees and broken beehives, and carrying him down a hillside.
Another person was seen hosing down the area to keep the bees away.
Anatolia showed rescuers in orange-colored overalls inside a vehicle, trying to kill the bees by squashing them against windows, using a blanket and rags.
Gov. Atlinparmak said some of the injured were in serious condition.
In a similar accident in 2006, bees repeatedly stung the two drivers of a truck that carried beehives and overturned on a road in central Turkey. Police, firefighters and journalists who rushed to the scene also were attacked.