Summary: For 10 minutes, two workers were forced to endure the anguished cries of their crewmate as he was assaulted by a swarm of bees while suspended by his safety harness in a tree.
The incident: When Franco Galvan Martinez, an employee of Bill Biggadike & Associates, New Braunfels, TX, was assigned to install lights from a tree at a job site in Austin, TX, he didn’t think too much about it.
After all, climbing trees was a fairly routine activity for the experienced lighting technician.
So Martinez grabbed a ladder, a safety harness and a lanyard. He climbed the ladder, properly affixed his safety harness and began to work.
But the job didn’t go as planned. Within minutes, Martinez inadvertently disturbed a beehive in the tree. Suddenly, the swarming bees began to sting him.
As Martinez tried to get away from the stinging insects, he unintentionally kicked away the ladder. That left him suspended in the air by his safety harness while thousands of bees began to swarm all over his body and sting him.
The response: Two workers on the ground tried to reposition the ladder and climb up to help Martinez. But they were driven away by the bees.
For 10 minutes, the staffers had to endure the anguished cries of their crewmate as he was methodically stung to death by the ruthless bees.
The aftermath: Martinez, 53, who was born in Mexico, left behind his wife, Cynthia, six children and several grandchildren.
“I already miss you so much my beloved husband,” wrote his wife on her Facebook page. “You will always be in my heart. I know you are in a better place in heaven.”
(From the July 25, 2022, issue of Safety Alert for Supervisors. To start your no-obligation trial subscription to the publication right now, please click here.)