It may have been unconventional, but it worked. A swarm of bees that had attacked a group of hikers in Oro Valley, AZ, near Tucson was blown away, quite literally, by a low-flying helicopter called in for that purpose.
The Pima County, AZ, Search and Rescue office contacted a medical helicopter to hover over the bees and the hikers at about 50 feet, which drove the swarm away. SAR Deputy Steve West told television station KVOA in Tuscon that "you do what you've got to do to get the people out safely," adding that the technique has been used in the past. Robert Mackey was rock climbing in 2010 when he was attacked by a bee swarm. He said he thought that the helicopter had come to pluck him from where he was dangling from a cliff when he was attacked, but first it dispersed the swarm. He suffered over 1,500 bee stings.
Three of the hikers that were attacked Sunday wound up in the hospital, including a six-year-old child. West said that "not an inch of their body" did not have a bee sting.
All of the hikers seemed to be doing well, according to the report. Three deputies on the scene were also stung.