A young Ohio man is fighting for his life after he was stung by bees more than 20,000 times and swallowed about three dozen of the buzzing insects.
Austin Bellamy, 20, was trimming a lemon tree last week when he unknowingly cut open a bee hive, releasing thousands of African killer bees that quickly swarmed around his head, neck and shoulders, his mother Shawna Carter told Fox19Now.
“It looked like he had a black blanket on his head down to his neck, down to his arms,” she told the local outlet.
Bellamy was trimming overgrown branches up in the tree Friday morning as his grandmother Phyllis Edwards and his uncle watched from the ground.
Suddenly, he slashed open the hive and the angry bees all flew out.
“When he started cutting them, that’s when the bees came out, and he tried to anchor himself down, and he couldn’t,” Edwards told Fox19. “He was hollering, ‘Help! Help me! Help!’”
She and Bellamy’s uncle were under attack as well and unable to help.
“I was going to try and climb the ladder to get to Austin… I seen how high he was… but I couldn’t get to him because I was surrounded [by] bees,” she said.
Firefighters responded and were able to get him down from the tree.
Bellamy was then airlifted to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center while Edwards was brought to an area hospital in an ambulance, the local outlet reported.
Bellamy was put on a ventilator and placed in a medically-induced coma.
Carter said her son had been stung more than 20,000 times and had swallowed about 30 bees in the description of a fundraiser she set up to cover his medical expenses.
She told Fox19 that hospital staff members were “suctioning” bees out of Bellamy through Sunday morning.
She said she passed out when she first heard what had happened to her son.
“It was just too much for me to take,” she said.
Bellamy finally awoke Wednesday, but remains in the hospital, according to Carter’s Facebook. Doctors expect him to make a full recovery.