Thursday, August 12, 2004

17 day campers evacuated

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

Sharonville firefighters gather their medical equipment and leave Sharon Woods after 17 children in a park-sponsored day camp were stung by yellowjackets and taken to hospitals Wednesday. None of the kids was seriously hurt, and the three lucky ones looking on escaped the swarm.
SHARONVILLE - Seventeen children attending a day camp at Sharon Woods were taken to area hospitals Wednesday with wasp stings after stumbling into a swarm of hundreds of yellow jackets.

The children, ages 7 to 9, were taken to hospitals as a precaution, said Hamilton County Park District Ranger Tim Biaglow.

None of the children suffered serious injury. They were released from hospitals by Wednesday afternoon.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center treated 11 children; Bethesda North Hospital saw four and Jewish Hospital Kenwood, two.

"None of the kids had any allergic reactions," Biaglow said. "The majority of the kids had only one or two stings."

Emergency workers on eight ambulances were called to the Hamilton County park off Lebanon Road to tend to the children about 11 a.m. Officials decided to take the children to hospitals because of their ages and because their parents were not at the park, said Sharonville Assistant Fire Chief John Mackey.

The group of 21 day campers was hiking in a wooded area and sat down on a tarp for a nature program, Biaglow said. The children were at the park as part of a day camp run by the Hamilton County Park District.

The area where the children were sitting contained a large yellow jacket nest underground, and the movement of the children disturbed the wasps.

"It woke up the (wasps)," Biaglow said. "You really can't see it until you are right on top of it.'

The naturalists moved the children to safety and called for help. Paramedics were called because at least three of the kids were stung on their faces, Biaglow said.

The nature program was set up Tuesday and there was no sign of the wasps in the area. The attack happened about 300 feet into thick woods in an area typically not used by large numbers of park visitors, Biaglow said.

Park workers notified each child's parents of the incident.

Park officials killed the insects.


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