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Man recovering after nearly 400 bee stings in southern Utah

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ST. GEORGE — Jay Francis always smiled whenever his wife called him sweet.

He just never thought so many bees would agree.

“I must have been extra sweet because they just wouldn’t leave me alone,” Francis said with a laugh.

The 89-year-old Bountiful man was watching a baseball game at Elks Field on Friday morning with his family when, seemingly out of left field, those bees started swarming.

“First it was one, then two, then three. Then they were everywhere,” Francis said. “It was just horrible. My head started aching. I can't believe how sensitive it was."

Sting after sting after sting.

He couldn't get them off.

"They stung me right here,” Francis said, pointing to his ear. “Right on my nose and the top of my head and the back of my head."

Francis' son, Kevin, saw his father being attacked and ran to help.

"His face was just covered in bees. You saw his eyes and his mouth,” Kevin Francis said.

The family said the bees were stinging people for nearly 15 minutes until firefighters arrived to try and get rid of them.

“First it was one, then two, then three. Then they were everywhere. It was just horrible. My head started aching. I can't believe how sensitive it was." -Jay Francis

“Since they were being so aggressive, we used water and foam to destroy those aggressive bees,” said Robert Hooper with the St. George Fire Department. “There were people running everywhere, swatting at bees. It was very chaotic.”

Francis was rushed to a nearby hospital.

He says doctors told him he's lucky to be alive, not just because he's 89 years old, but because he had nearly 400 bee stings.

"My whole head was just swollen. I felt like I was a lucky man after hearing the statements the doctors had to make,” he said.

Francis is now home and doing better.

So is his wife, who had a few dozen stings, as well as his son, who had some 50 stings himself.

“The only way to get them off was to just wipe them off,” Kevin Francis said.

They're thanking all of those who tried to help them, even though those helpers were getting stung, too.

“It was like a bee swarm out of an Alfred Hitchcock movie,” Kevin Francis said.

Contributing: Stace Hall


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