A 55-year-old man was allegedly killed after an attack by a swarm of honey bees at a garden in Borivali (West). Two persons have also been injured. The incident has prompted the civic body to carry out a survey of municipal gardens across the city to check for bees. The incident happened around 11 am Wednesday in Veer Savarkar Garden. The deceased has been identified as Pankaj Shah. The injured — Ramanuj Dad (32) and Merrysta Ramona Rongavilla (46) — who were being treated at Karuna Hospital, had been discharged after the treatment.
Police said the deceased had gone for a morning walk. “Shah, who was differently abled, was unwell. While he was strolling in the garden, a swarm of bees attacked him. Following the incident, he went home and his brother admitted him to Karuna Hospital in the evening,” said Laxman Dumbre, senior police inspector from Borivali police station. Dumbre added that Shah was later declared dead by the hospital authorities. “We have registered an accidental death report in the matter,” he added.
Civic officials termed the incident as a rare case. “There was a beehive on a jamun (black plum) tree inside the garden. After the incident, we destroyed the beehive using fire and pesticides. Besides, we also plastered that portion of beehive with cement concrete so that the bees do not return,” said Ramakant Biradar, assistant commissioner of R Central ward.
Biradar added that the garden had been partially closed since Wednesday. “The access has been restricted to people where the incident had occurred. The other side of the garden is open and the garden management is supervising that area,” he added. The Veer Savarkar Garden is maintained by the Poisar Gymkhana Trust, controlled by BJP MP Gopal Shetty, under the civic body’s adoption policy. “We will conduct a survey tomorrow to see whether the access to the restricted portion can be allowed. Besides, we are conducting a survey of all gardens to see whether there are any honey bees,” said Biradar.
“We are awaiting the hospital report for further course of action. But we may not be able to issue any notice for a bee attack, as there is no provision in the law, he added. A senior official in the BMC’s Garden Department said a survey would be carried out in the gardens across the city from Saturday. “As a part of precautionary measures, in the survey, we will identify the types of the species of honey bees. If some species turn out to be harmful, then the course of action will be decided after consulting with experts,” said the official.
A doctor in Karuna hospital, Borivali, said recently a few patients had been brought after they were stung by honey bee. “We treated them and most of them had recovered and were discharged. Only one person had stings all over his body. He passed away two days ago but we are not sure if the death was caused by honey bee sting.” The cause of Shah’s death has been reserved after doctors in Bhagwati hospital said there would be further analysis.