Two people out for a walk in southern France Tuesday were rushed to hospital after being attacked by a swarm of bees.
The attack took place as the pair walked a path near Le Brignon, in the Haute-Loire department, according to Jonathan Harris, deputy mayor of Le Brignon.
A 70-year-old man became unconscious after the attack, and a 52-year-old woman also received emergency treatment, Harris said.
The deputy mayor said the man was taken to hospital in a “sticky situation,” but there had since been good news on his condition.
“It seems to be going alright at the moment, the gendarmes informed me of that this morning,” Harris said.
There are 72 bee hives near the path, kept by a local farmer, he added.
“The owner was opening the bee hives to get the honey, so the bees were quite excited already,” Harris told CNN, adding that seven fire trucks and ambulances attended the scene.
A fire department spokesman told the AFP news agency that the firefighters arrived at the scene and found an aggressive swarm of bees.
“They completely covered the man’s body and partially that of the woman, making their rescue delicate if not impossible,” the spokesman said.
“Six of the firefighters were also stung, not severely,” said Harris. “They didn’t have the necessary equipment for bees.
A local beekeeper helped by smoking the insects away from the pair, and later smoked out the emergency vehicle used to transport them, which was full of hundreds of bees, reports AFP.
Harris said the hives were removed from the area on Tuesday night, and there had been other recent bee attacks.
“There had been certain incidents in the last two or three weeks,” he said.
“A hitchhiker had been attacked. The mayor himself had been stung a couple of weeks back. It looked like it was going to lead up to something and it did.”
Firefighters believe the attack may have been triggered by beekeepers removing honey from nearby beehives, as well as stormy weather.
“We have never seen anything like it,” firefighters told AFP. “The victims were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
In June, a US Border Patrol agent rescued a Guatemalan woman and her 8-year-old son from a swarm of bees in Brownsville, Texas.
And in 2016 a man died in Arizona after he was stung more than 1,000 times by a swarm of bees.