Des Plaines paramedics were swarmed by bees while rescuing a man with an ankle injury stuck on the bank of the Des Plaines River under Golf Road Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The adult male had a serious leg injury and had to be lifted up onto the road bridge about 20 feet above using ropes due to the steepness of the banks and the uneven, rocky terrain. The man had tripped when his foot got stuck in some rocks and injured his leg, Fire Chief Alan Wax said.
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The ambulance crew called for an engine company and ladder truck company to assist. Crews worked quickly to treat and package the patient. They used the ladder truck to reach over the bridge and provide an anchor point above the victim so that he could be lifted in a rescue basket using a hauling system assembled on the scene.
While shifting some rocks next to the victim, rescuers disturbed a beehive and suddenly found themselves in the middle of a swarm of hundreds of bees, further complicating the rescue, Wax said.
A few of the rescuers were stung, as was the patient. The patient remained conscious throughout, and ultimately was taken in stable condition by Des Plaines paramedics to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, officials said.
The entire rescue operation took less than 25 minutes.
"Crews did an excellent job," Wax said. "This incident is a testament to the depth and breadth of training of the Des Plaines Fire Department personnel, and demonstrates that our responders are equipped and prepared to handle the wide variety of emergency situations that they may encounter in providing service. The use of the ladder truck as an overhead anchor point demonstrates the versatility of the vehicle beyond just use at structure fires."
Traffic was backed up for 45 minutes as the fire department blocked the right-hand lane of westbound Golf Road at River Road and the right-hand lane of northbound River Road at Golf Road. The the road reopened at approximately 6:45 p.m.