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Man and his dog found dangling from cliff dead after being stung by bees

By Mason White 3:14 AM May 9, 2013
Man climbing a cliff illustration 

By: Moses Gold
A man and his dog were found dead after being attack by a group of bees, according to a statement released by Arizona police.

An Arizona climber was found dead, hanging from a rope on a cliff overlooking south of Tucson, apparently after being stung by bees to death, police said Wednesday.

Steven Wallace Johnson, 55, a counselor with some 30 years experience of hiking and climbing, headed to the mountains south of Tucson on Friday, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said.

Johnson was reported missing Monday by co-workers after he did not show up to work. A Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team found his body in the evening, Estrada said. “He had been bitten several times and was hanging there,” he said.

“He was climbing the cliff and was about 70 feet high and still had about 80 feet to go, so the man had nowhere to run when he was attacked by a swarm of bees,” Estrada said.

He said that Johnson’s dog had also been attacked by bees and was found dead nearby.

“It is very sad that the man and his dog were stung to death by bees. I think people who are in compromising positions and vulnerable to bee attacks should always use some type of bee repellent especially in areas that are known for bee attacks,” Crystal Rivera, 19, of Tucson, Arizona told after learning about the deaths.

The Office of the Pima County Medical Examiner was performing an autopsy to determine the cause of death of Johnson and the dog.