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Cape Town - A routine physical education exercise turned into a nightmare for pupils, teachers and staff at a special needs school in Stikland when a swarm of bees attacked them.
The children were aged between five and 10.
Sixty one pupils and three teachers from the Cheré Botha School were stung – 28 pupils, two of the teachers and four class assistants were taken to the local Melomed Hospital in Bellville, the Kuils River Netcare facility, and Tygerberg and Karl Bremer hospitals with minor to serious bee stings yesterday morning.
Principal Joey van der Westhuizen said teachers and class assistants took a group of pupils for a walk on the school grounds as part of their daily routine.
The route includes passing an area littered with bee hives, with bees flying across a relatively large space. As they were making their way back, the children were attacked by the swarm of bees, said Van der Westhuizen.
Western Cape Education Department spokesman Paddy Attwell said some of the pupils were admitted for overnight observation.
A 10-year-old girl was admitted to Karl Bremer Hospital while three others were taken to Tygerberg Hospital.
The three were in stable conditions, said Tygerberg Hospital spokeswoman Laticia Pienaar.
The 10-year-old was also said to be in a stable condition.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha told Sapa that reports indicated that a swarm of bees “went on a rampage, stinging everything in their way”.
“The exact cause of the bees becoming aggressive is still unknown,” he said.
Cheré Botha School was developed to support pupils with special educational needs. It was established by Mike and Gloria Botha in 1981 and named in memory of their daughter Cheré, who was born on September 17, 1976, with Down syndrome and who died of leukaemia on June 27, 1980.