Man dies in Tanglin bee attack
The New Paper
THE task seemed easy enough: Get rid of a beehive on the lamp post beside a fallen tree.
But the job took a deadly turn when three workers reached the spot at about 11am on Nov 6.
Without warning, the bees - believed to be Malayan Wild Bees - turned on the men. All three were stung and hospitalised.
One of them, Mr Mohd Sallehen S., died on the same day. He was in his early 30s.
While The New Paper was unable to confirm officially if this was the first bee-attack death here, members of the pest-control community said it was the first time they had heard of such a death.
It began when the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) was alerted to the presence of the bees.
An SLA spokesman said: "Our officers visited (Sherwood Road in Tanglin) and discovered a (beehive) on a lamp post next to a fallen tree."
They called pest-control company ATL Maintenance, which dispatched Mr Sallehen and two others to the site. A colleague who wanted to be known only as Mr Ahmad recalled: "The swarm was so thick, you couldn't count how many bees there were."
The trio parked their van about 15m from the swarm, near a public carpark. Mr Ahmad opened the back door to retrieve their safety suits and other gear.
That was when disaster struck.
"All of a sudden, I noticed a lot of bees around my head. Then I felt them stinging my face," he said. "It happened so quickly. They were all over me, in my shirt and in my pants. There was no time to even touch the equipment or (safety) suit. The bees had already attacked."
Shocked, he shouted, slammed the door shut, then pushed another colleague away from the danger. Mr Sallehen, who was sitting in the van, ran out. They couldn't lock themselves in the vehicle as the bees had already entered it.
The men ran for their lives. Mr Ahmad called another team for help. All three were taken to the Singapore General Hospital.
A colleague later told Mr Ahmad that "Sallehen was no more".
A National University Hospital spokesman said Mr Sallehen's death could be due to anaphylaxis, an allergic reaction to bee venom.
"We have not seen any deaths due to such reactions to bee venom at the (emergency department)," the spokesman added.
Mr Sallehen had married his sweetheart, Ms Nurshila, in August.