Killer bees sting elderly woman to death

By Michelle Sutherland

Staff Reporter


A 60-year-old woman was stung to death by Africanized killer bees on Wednesday afternoon at the Arm of Love Primary School compound in San Ignacio town, Cayo.


Around 3:00 on Wednesday afternoon, Cruz Raquel Chan, of the Trench Town area in San Ignacio went to the school to pick up her two grandchildren, when she was attacked and stung numerous times by the bees. She reportedly died on the school’s verandah screaming for help, a witness at the scene said.


Teachers and students reportedly locked the windows and doors to classrooms during the attack to prevent students from coming under attack as well.


The Reporter newspaper spoke to the school’s principal, Iris Garcia, on Thursday and she shared that she was still shaken up by the unfortunate incident.


“The children were on break playing out in the school yard. The buzzer had just  sounded  when there came along a strong breeze. I was inside my classroom with my Infant 1 students when I suddenly became alerted by screams.


I heard the sound of running feet and my students dashed into the classroom, quickly closing windows and doors and shouting, ‘Miss we are being attacked by bees’,” she recalled.


Garcia said that the attack lasted for half-an-hour and all they could hear outside were screams for help. She said that she opened the door after someone had knocked on it and found a man lying down flat outside the classroom door completely covered by bees. He told her to call for help because an elderly woman was under attack by killer  the bees.


The principal said that she called for the police and an ambulance,  arrived soon after to assist Cruz, who she says, was already dead when medics arrived.


Some of the students received minor stings and were given treatment, then released. Two parents and two policemen are currently admitted to ward at the San Ignacio Community Hospital for treatment for bee stings.


The Ministry of Agriculture made an assessment of the area and confirmed that the bees came from a nearby yard after their nest was disturbed by the breeze. It has also confirmed that the bees were Africanized bees.


Classes have been suspended until next Monday so nearby yards around the compound can be inspected and fumigated.


The Ministry of Education and Health will visit the school on Monday for an all-day counselling session, since quite a number of the students and teachers were left traumatized by the sudden attack.


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