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Over 20 stung by hornets during boat tour in Yilan County

The China Post news staff--Over 20 visitors were stung by hornets while touring a lake in Yilan County yesterday. None of them sustained serious injuries, local hospitals said.

The incident happened at 9:30 a.m. yesterday, when 70 visitors from two groups were taking a boat ride on a lake in the Dahu Scenic Area in Yuanshan Township, Yilan County.

In the middle of the lake, one visitor reportedly saw a hornet and wielded his arm at it. This gesture caused a swarm of the insects to come over, attacking the visitors.

The skipper of the boat then asked the visitors to get down and cover themselves with whatever items they could. Some opened umbrellas and some covered themselves with raincoats.

The skipper himself was stung about 20 times. Withstanding the pain, he drove the boat ashore at full speed and escaped the insects after driving about 100 meters.

Altogether 22 people, ranging from 76- to 10-year-olds, were stung by the wasps. After they got on the shore, they were transported to two local hospitals by the Yilan Fire Department.

According to Taipei fire officials, hornets tend to be more active and aggressive in autumn. As they are attracted to bright colors and strong odors, visitors on outing trips should refrain from wearing bright-colored clothes and wearing perfume, experts said.

Upon seeing a hornet nest people should quietly walk away. If attacked, people should cover their heads and faces and back out over the same path, as moving forward would be even more dangerous. If stung, wash the affected area with clean water and soap first, and then remove and sting and cover the injured part with ice, experts said.

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