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Golf course employee killed in horrific bee swarm attack

Golf course employee killed in horrific bee swarm attack

A golf course worker was killed in a horrific bee swarm attack while mowing his lawn in Arizona.

Rick Messina, 57, a groundskeeper who had worked for the course’s agronomy team since July 2022, was mowing in the area when he was stung, El Conquistador Golf, located in Oro Valley, north of Tuscon, Arizona, said in a statement to USA TODAY.

“It appears Rick was attacked by a flying swarm of bees,” the company said.

The tragic incident occurred in late June near hole 8 on one of the golf courses operated by El Conquistador, the Pusch Ridge Course.

Someone called authorities about the bee attack at 7:17 a.m. on June 24, Darren Wright, a spokesman for Oro Valley Police, told the outlet. Messina was then taken to a local hospital, where he died three days later, on June 27.

On the day of the attack, professional beekeepers came to the resort to inspect all 45 golf holes on the property. However, they found no hives or bee activity and gave the all-clear.

Following Messina’s death, El Conquistador sent a statement to members of his golf club about the “tragic industrial accident” that led to the groundskeeper’s death.

“Rick was a dedicated and valued member of our team, known for his exceptional work ethic, positive attitude and unwavering dedication to his duties. His sudden passing is a profound loss to our work family and our community,” the statement, obtained by the outlet, said.

“El Conquistador Golf and Indigo Sports have provided support resources to both Rick’s family and our team to help everyone get through this difficult time,” they continued.

The incident occurred in late June on the Punch Ridge Course in Oro Valley, Arizona (13 News)The incident occurred in late June on the Punch Ridge Course in Oro Valley, Arizona (13 News)

The incident occurred in late June on the Punch Ridge Course in Oro Valley, Arizona (13 News)

They added that Messina died from “complications from bee stings,” according to the outlet.

The City of Oro Valley said it wanted to remind all citizens to “be aware of the wildlife and venomous animals in our area. Summer is peak season for bee swarms, so please stay alert,” according to the local outlet. 13 News reports.

City officials have also reportedly posted signs at the entrance to the golf course to remind citizens to be aware of wildlife in the area.

The tragic accident occurred months after another bee incident in Arizona, when a swarm of bees interrupted a game between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The baseball game scheduled for April 30 was postponed for nearly two hours as efforts were made to get rid of the swarm of bees.

The insect colony occupied the top of the protective net behind the home base.

Matt Hilton, the branch manager of Blue Sky Pest Control’s Phoenix office, which removed the bees, was given the opportunity to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

The Independent has asked El Conquistador Golf for a comment.