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Bee Swarm Complicates Rescue Of Fisherman In Des Plaines

(File photo credit: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/GettyImages)

(File photo credit: JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT/AFP/GettyImages)

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DES PLAINES, Ill. (CBS) – Paramedics already had a tough job Wednesday when they were called to pluck an injured fisherman from the banks of the Des Plaines River.

A swarm of bees only complicated things.

Firefighters from Des Plaines got an emergency call and rushed to the site of an injury 20 feet below the Golf Road bridge at the river. A man had fractured his ankle while fishing on a steep embankment.

“He couldn’t walk, and he was large enough that it would have injured our firefighters trying to bring him up manually, up the bank,” Fire Dept. Dave Macri tells CBS 2’s Pamela Jones.

So, firefighters brought a ladder truck equipped to lift the man. But in the process, they stirred up a mess of bees. The hundreds of buzzing insects were nesting under a rock on the riverbed.

“All of a sudden, they found themselves in the middle of a swarm of hundreds of bees,” Des Plaines Fire Chief Alan Wax told WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody. “The bees were not happy. The rescuers and victim were not happy.”

Firefighters and the patient received some stings over a period of 10 minutes, but they made it to the safety of an ambulance. The patient was splinted for a leg fracture and transported to the hospital.

Both patient and paramedics were doing fine, without any sign of allergic reaction to the bee stings, Wax said.

“I have got to give credit to our personnel. They did an outstanding job. They just kept working,” he said.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports