Eleven people in a group of 20 hikers were stung by hornets in New Taipei City’s Ruifang District today, and four people were seriously injured. Two men lost vital signs and were declared dead after arrival at the hospital.
The New Taipei City Fire Department received reports of the hornet attack at 11:38 am. Twenty ambulances and 51 personnel were dispatched to the trailhead. A command post was set up at the trailhead, and a rescue team was sent to the site of the attack.
At 12:20 pm, firefighters made contact with a group of sixteen people descending the mountain, including 7 of the injured who could walk on their own. At 1:32 pm, the team found the four seriously injured people.
One of the injured hikers, a man named Jiao, had fallen down a 5-meter-deep slope while attempting to evade the hornets. Jiao was reported to be conscious, but unable to climb out on his own. Firefighters lifted Jiao back to the trail. Jiao and another man, named Hu, lost consciousness as they were carried down the trail on roll stretchers, and were sent to hospital in critical condition. Both men arrived at the hospital without breathing or heartbeat and were later declared dead.
Three of the search and rescue personnel were also stung while rescuing the injured hikers.
Personnel from the Ruifang District Office and New Taipei City Animal Protection office went to the trailhead to block it with barricade tape and warning signs.
The Fire Department said that autumn is the peak period for hornet attacks, with hornets being more active and aggressive in protecting their nests.
The number of attacks has increased in the last few years, and some experts believe this is due to a lack of typhoons making landfall and damaging or destroying hornet nests during the summer and autumn seasons.
The hornets responsible for the attack are suspected to be Asian giant hornets (Vespa Mandarinia).
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