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Climber, dog fatally stung by bees

PHOENIX — An Arizona climber has been found dead, dangling from a rope on a cliff face south of Tucson, after apparently being stung to death by bees, police said yesterday.

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

Johnson was reported missing on Monday by co-workers after he failed to show up for work. A Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office search and rescue team found his body that afternoon, Estrada said. “He had been stung repeatedly and he was dangling there,” he said.

“He was climbing the cliff and was about 70 feet up and still had about 80 feet to go, so he really didn’t have anywhere to go when he was attacked by this swarm of bees,” Estrada said.

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

The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office was conducting an autopsy to determine the cause of Johnson’s death. (Reuters)

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