AN elderly woman in a wheelchair has tragically died after being attacked by a swarm of giant hornets in Japan.
Chieko Kikuchi, 87, was reportedly stung 150 times while making her way home from a nursing centre in Ozu, Ehime Prefecture around 4pm on September 11. News of the horrific attack was only made public on Thursday.
A nurse who was accompanying Kikuchi on her journey home stood by powerless, unable to save the 87-year-old from the terrifying onslaught, which lasted about 50 minutes.
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Kikuchi’s carer could only watch on in horror as the enormous venomous winged insects stabbed her with their 6.25mm-long stingers.
The nurse called 119 but firefighters and paramedics who were dispatched to the scene were unable to reach the elderly because the swarm around her was too thick and they had no protective equipment.
It’s understood operator who took the nurse’s frantic call mistakenly assumed the attack was over and the woman had already been moved to a place of safety.
After the horrifying near hour-long ordeal, Kikuchi was rushed to hospital where she sadly died from multiple organ failures the following day.
The Japanese giant hornet, known locally as suzumebach, is a subspecies of the world’s largest hornet, the Asian giant hornet, and is known to be particularly aggressive when provoked.
Growing larger than 4.5cm long with a wingspan of 6cm, the monster insect has a large yellow head with bulging eyes and an abdomen banded in brown and yellow.
Its venom is delivered in large doses and is strong enough to attack the nervous system and dissolve human tissue.
Tests on mice have found the Japanese giant hornet’s venom falls short of being the most lethal of wasp venom known to man, having a median lethal dose of 4.0mg per kilogram.
The hornet can also be found in China, where people who are stung more than 10 times are advised to seek medical help. Emergency treatment is considered necessary for anyone stung more than 30 times.