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Fall After Bee Attack Kills 2 Rappelers and Injures 5 in Rio Grande do Sul

01/26/2015 - 10h49

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FELIPE BÄCHTOLD
FROM PORTO ALEGRE

LULY ZONTA
FROM SÃO PAULO

A bee swarm attacked a group of people practicing rappel in a waterfall nearly 130 meters high in a region of dense forest in Rio Grande do Sul.

Desperate, two of them tried to go down quickly and died. Three other men, among them a 73-year-old cardiologist, were injured, with bone fractures and severe bee stings.

The accident occurred on Saturday afternoon, January 24, but the rescue teams only were called on Sunday morning, January 25, after two men walked more than 12 kilometers to reach the surroundings of the city of Maquiné. They had light injures.

With the help of helicopters, the firemen rescued the injured, but, because access to the area was difficult, the bodies of Ronei Pinto and Jean Carlos Lopes likely will be rescued on Monday, January 26.

"The bees appeared suddenly, in a huge swarm that came from the woods, and made us go down the cliff. They were already preparing to go down when we were attacked and everything went wrong," says Gomercindo Daniel Filho, a member of the group.

He followed the rescue of his friends, but didn't participate in this weekend's expedition.

Aside from Ronei and Jean Carlos, cardiologist Roberto Schuster, 73, who was leading the group, also fell while going down, but from a lesser height. He broke his leg and his hip.

"They became confused when the bees attacked and everyone started acting on his own, without any organization. One of them cut the rope [while still hanging] and fell," says Filho.

EXPERIENCED

Cardiologist Schuster has practiced canyoning (exploration of rivers and waterfalls by rappel and other techniques) for more than ten years and organized expeditions in the interior of Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina.

He lives in São Jerônimo, in greater Porto Alegre.

Schuster named his group "Schuster Adventures" and met the extreme sports enthusiasts who accompanied him on the internet.

On his Facebook page, the adventure had been scheduled to leave 20 kilometers form the center of Maquiné on Saturday at 7:30 am.

Lawyer Daniel Filho says Schuster had planned all the hikes and has practiced rappel when he finds companions. "He has taken many courses in the area. He is a big enthusiat," he says.

Daniel Filho says the two men who died were new in Schuster's group but had experience in extreme sports.

Five years ago, the group had another accident at the same waterfall where the bee attack occurred.

A technical failure in a rappel delayed the expedition and Daniel Filho and another member of the group spent two nights lost in the forest. No one was injured.

Maquiné, near the north coast of Rio Grande do Sul, is known for its trails, waterfalls and mountains in the Mata Atlântica.

Translated by THOMAS MUELLO

Read the article in the original language

Cid Martins/Agência RBS/Folhapress
With the help of helicopters, the firemen rescued the injured; the bee attack ocurred on Saturday afternoon(24)
With the help of helicopters, the firemen rescued the injured; the bee attack ocurred on Saturday afternoon(24)

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