81-Year-Old Man Survives 1,000 Bee Stings: 'It's a Miracle'

Thomas Mizell, an 81-year-old Texas native, had a nasty run-in with a swarm of bees on June 26 that left him with nearly 1,000 bee stings.

Mizell explained in an interview with the Cleveland Advocate on Tuesday that the incident took place in Tarkington, Texas while he was clearing out some trees.

"I was running a dozer in the woods, helping my cousin clear a right-of-way for a fence. All of a sudden, I saw a black cloud of bees surrounding me," Mizell explained. "I jumped off the dozer, which happened to be in neutral. I left it running and took off through the woods, trying to make my way to a little lake I had dug on the property."

He said the bees began stinging every party of his body, including his face, eyes and inner ear. Even with his vision impaired, he made his way to a nearby lake to seek protection underwater.

"I said, 'Lord, help me.' When I fell down trying to get out of the bees, He said, 'Walk by faith,' so I did," Mizell said. "My heart was pounding as I went toward that pond. Still fighting the bees, I jumped into the pond but I could still hear the bees under the water."

Mizell emerged from the water only to find the swarm waiting for him. Luckily his son Mary and Joey drove up looking for him. Mary, Mitzell's wife of 57 years, said she could barely recognize her husband due to all of his stings.

"As we turned onto the road, we saw a figure. I couldn't tell it was him right away," she said.

The two managed to swat the bees away long enough to load Mitzell into their car and drive to the nearest emergency room.

Once they arrived he was given medication to counter the massive quantity of bee venom he had been hit with.

"God had Cleveland Emergency Hospital ready for us. I just know it," Mitzell said. "They gave me a lot of Benadryl and I don't remember a lot after that. My heart seemed to settle down right away."

He was released from intensive care a day later, the same day he turned 81.

"A miracle. It is. It's a miracle," he told Houston's Fox affiliate Fox 26. "People need to be aware of these killer bees because number one is they can kill ya', like they got me, but God was with me."

If stung enough times, a person can go into anaphylactic shock and die. According to the Center for Disease Control, bees, wasps and honets kill an average of 58 people annually in the United States.

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Photo: Getty Images/Sven Hoppe/dpa