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Elderly Woman, Firefighters Hospitalized After Thousands Of Killer Bees Attack

PALM DESERT ( — A 71-year-old woman and three firefighters Friday were recovering at a Riverside County hospital after they were attacked by thousands of killer bees.

The incident happened around 4:40 p.m. Thursday in a gated community on Lucerne Drive in Palm Desert, CalFire said.

The woman suffered 1,000 stings and looked like she was wearing a "suit of bees" when firefighters found her, Battalion Chief Mark Williams said.

"When you get on scene and see an adult, fully encapsulated with bees, it's a very rare case," said Williams.

She was quickly put into an ambulance and taken to a local hospital with major injuries. The woman went into shock, but is expected to recover.

Five firefighters suffered stings to their faces and necks during the rescue. Two were treated on scene, while three others were transported to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage with minor injuries, according to CalFire.

The bees, which are attracted to vibrations, had swarmed inside a phone company's metal box containing fiber optic equipment.

A private company was later called to remove two hives said there were "approximately 60,000-70,000 confirmed Africanized honey bees," officials said.

"She's very lucky to be alive," said Lance Davis, who runs a bee removal company.

Africanized honey bees, commonly known as killer bees, arrived in the Coachella Valley in the 1990s, the Desert Sun reported.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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