Fri, Jul 26, 2019 - Page 2 News List

Family says government to blame for hornet death

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer, with CNA

The family of an 87-year-old woman, who died after being attacked by hornets, yesterday announced their intention to seek compensation for her death, alleging that the Yilan County Government was at fault.

The woman’s son, Lee Hsin-yi (李信毅), told a news conference that his mother was attacked and stung by hornets while harvesting vegetables on July 9.

Passersby heard her call for help, put her in a wheelchair and took her to home, Lee said, adding that a neighbor then took her to a hospital.

However, at 4pm, doctors said they could do no more for her, Lee said.

The family was outraged as it had contacted the Yilan County Government on June 29 about the hornet’s nest, which was on an electricity pole.

Ten days later, on the day that his mother died, the county government and state-run Taiwan Power Co (Taipower) finally came to remove the nest, Lee said.

Aside from having a chronic disease and difficulty moving, his mother was otherwise physically and mentally healthy, Lee said.

“We could have accepted it if she had passed from an illness, but not from being stung by hornets,” Lee said.

Yilan County Bureau of Agriculture Director Kang Li-ho (康立和) said that the bureau had contacted its contractor to remove the nest after it received the family’s call on June 29.

“We were informed that the nest was situated on an overhead power line, and had to inform Taipower to cut the power before it could be removed,” Kang said.

Taipower had to notify those living at the 300 residences that would be affected by the temporary power outage and began conducting door-to-door visits on July 2, which delayed plans, he said.

The bureau had planned to remove the nest at night, as black-bellied hornets leave their nests in the morning and return at night, Kang said.

The county government was distressed that such an incident had occurred, but denied any oversight or undue delays in handling the issue, he said.

Lee said that the bureau should have put up warning signs about the hornet’s nest.

The county government would look into whether its procedures could be streamlined, Kang said, adding that proper warning notifications would be made.

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