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Man dies, wife hospitalized after attack by swarm of bees in Texas

A Texas man died after going into cardiac arrest when he was attacked by an aggressive swarm of bees outside his home, authorities said.

Thomas Hicks, 70, was mowing his lawn Monday when he was repeatedly stung by the bees outside his home in Breckenridge, about 130 miles (210 kilometres) west of Dallas, authorities said.

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The Breckenridge Fire Department (BFD) said first responders faced “very aggressive bee activity” when they arrived at the home. Medics and firefighters attempted emergency care but Hicks died, the fire department said.

Hicks’ wife, Zoni Hicks, told TV station KTAB that she had been out grocery shopping when she returned to find her husband screaming and covered in bees.

“You couldn’t even see his back and his whole head — he was just covered,” she said.

Zoni Hicks was also stung repeatedly and she was treated and released from a hospital. NBC News reports that she was rescued after being covered in a firefighter’s protective equipment and escaping out of the house into a vehicle.

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“Please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers during this traumatic and sad day,” BFD said in a statement on its Facebook page. “First responders were faced with the daunting task of patient care and treatment during the attack and remained professional through the event.”

The hive was located inside a tree and firefighters killed the bees by spraying foam onto them, authorities said.

BFD did not specify what kind of bee was involved in the attack, but so-called “killer bees” have been known to live in this particular area of Texas.

— With files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz

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