Monday, June 3, 2013
The family of a Texas man attacked and killed by a huge swarm of Africanized killer bees said Larry Goodwin suffered more than 3,000 stings and collapsed as he was apparently trying to reach a hydrant to wash off the bees.
The bees are so fearsome that the ambulance crew that first arrived refused to help him saying it wasn't safe, his daughter told ABCNews.com.
Goodwin, 62, was attacked by the bees on Saturday while mowing a neighbor's pasture with his tractor in Moody, Texas.
"My dad was awesome," Kelly Flores told ABCNews.com. "There's wasn't a person that lived in this town that had anything bad to say about him."
"He was a very, very loving, good dad and let me tell you, he loved his grandbabies," Flores said through tears. "That's what he lived for was his grandchildren."
He had nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Goodwin was driving his tractor and shredding his pasture last week when a neighbor asked if he could do the same for her land, Goodwin's daughter says.
On Saturday, Goodwin got on his tractor and started working on his neighbor's land. He was almost done when his daughters were heading out to take their children to the park.
His daughter Tanya Goodwin was getting ready to leave when she saw her sister pull her car over and figured she was telling their father they were heading out.
"Then I saw her jumping up and down and I saw an ambulance drive by and I didn't see him on the tractor so I knew something was wrong," Tanya Goodwin said.
She ran over and saw her father, whose birthday the family had just celebrated on Friday, laying by a water hydrant and bees everywhere.
"It looked like he might have been trying to wash the bees off, but his clothes weren't wet so he never got to get the water on him," she said.
A neighbor and her daughter had tried to help him but had both gotten stung and the woman was allergic to bee stings.
"I did CPR on him and then the paramedics came and they wouldn't come in the gate because they said it wasn't safe," Goodwin said. "Me and my sister and nephew dragged him from where he was and they finally came and helped us carry him."
A spokesman for the paramedics did not immediately respond to calls by ABCNews.com.
She said they did CPR for about 15 minutes before another ambulance crew arrived, but Goodwin knew there was no saving her father.
"I knew he was gone because I'm a nurse myself," she said. "He had over 3,000 bee stings."
Goodwin said that her father had been assured that the land was clear and that the bees were buried under some brush near an old chicken coop. She said that he did not mow into them and never went into the brush pile, but she believes the vibrations from the tractor made them angry enough to attack.
Goodwin said that she was stung by the bees as was her sister, nephew, two first responders and three neighbors who tried to help.
Allen Miller, owner of Bees Be Gone, was called to removed the hives. He told the family there were 22 hives and over 40,000 of the Africanized bees in the hives.
Africanized bees -- dubbed "killer bees" – have been spreading in the country after being brought to the U.S. in 1990. They are more aggressive and can be defensive, experts say. The more docile European bee and the African bee look the same and require DNA testing to be differentiated.
Most human deaths and serious injuries from bee stings happen to people who are allergic to the insect. But, if one is stung enough times, it can be lethal. Ten stings per pound of body weight is lethal, so a person weighing 150 pounds would need to be stung roughly 1,500 times to be killed, experts say.
Goodwin's wife Shirley Goodwin said she was will miss the man who "was always doing something for somebody and keeping his place."
"He didn't meet strangers," Shirley Goodwin said of her husband. "He was just a super guy. We had been married for 43 years and I can say he's a super guy."