Four crew members, two women, and two men were injured when they were attacked by a swarm of bees on a boat on the Kowie River before crashing into the riverbank.
The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Chris Pike said the crew of the casualty boat described a large swarm of bees that descended on them immediately starting to sting them multiple times while they were underway on the river on Thursday.
“At 14h16, Thursday, 16 December, NSRI Port Alfred duty crew were activated following eye-witness reports of a boat accident 8 kilometers upstream on the Kowie River with four crew on the boat suffering injuries.
“A private boat had raised the alarm after the casualty boat encountered a swarm of bees while underway on the river and the skipper of the boat veered off course in an effort to escape the swarm of bees before colliding into the river bank and trees along the river bank,” Pike said.
He said two private boats were in attendance attempting to assist, but the bees were still at that stage aggressive and stinging the casualties.
“NSRI Port Alfred coxswain Keryn van der Walt, on her private boat that was on the river at the time, responded immediately with her crew while the NSRI Port Alfred duty crew launched the sea rescue craft Rescue 11 Alpha and responded.
“Gardmed ambulance services were activated to stand-by at the NSRI rescue base in Port Alfred.
“Keryn arrived on the scene and, despite the bees presence and risking being stung, managed to extricate two of the casualties from the casualty craft and initiated medical treatment for serious injuries and multiple bee stings, causing anaphylaxis to a 21-year-old woman from Makanda and bee stings causing anaphylaxis to a 43- year-old woman from Port Alfred,” Pike said.
A 49-year-old man and a 20-year-old man, both from Port Alfred, were also rescued.
“The 20-year-old man was treated for multiple bee stings and anaphylaxis. The 49-year-old male was treated for bee stings, and he showed no signs of any allergy to the stings.”
The damaged casualty boat will be recovered by the owner at a later stage.