Bee Swarm Traps Family in Car at Pier 92 Parking Lot
HELL'S KITCHEN — It was like something out of a Stephen King novel.
A terrified family found themselves helpless and trapped inside their own vehicle Sunday afternoon, stuck in a parking lot at Pier 92 and engulfed in a massive swarm of bees.
Officials said a call first came in at 3:31 p.m. for a family of three locked inside their vehicle on the uppermost floor of an open air parking garage on West 55th Street and 12th Avenue.
Responders, including the NYPD's resident beekeeper Anthony Planakis, swooped in to find the family's black Volvo SUV immobilized by a swarm of at least 10,000 honey bees.
The family, described as a couple and their child, contacted 911, and help arrived.
Rescuers discovered that a hive had been forming on the passenger's side-view mirror. The NYPD helped the family escape through the driver's side window successfully, without disturbing the bees or inciting stings.
"The husband, he was scared," said Planakis. "I said 'Don't worry, and get your car washed as soon as possible,'" in order to wash off any scent other bees might be attracted to and try to colonize on, which is a danger, he said.
Planakis was called in around 3:45 p.m. to gather the bees with a special vacuum. He thought that the mobile beehive began forming when the queen drifted off from a larger hive from somewhere nearby. He suggested they migrated from an air conditioning unit or the Hudson River Park.
Planakis said there was already wax building up on the passenger's side mirror of the vehicle.
Until Sunday, no city dwellers had been held hostage by or had potentially dangerous encounters with the insects.
As Planakis pointed out, the bees hadn't yet been seeking out waterfront property.
"They take the most expensive part of Manhattan to start a home," he joked.