Retiree stung to death by wasps while gathering fruit near Hillview MRT

Photo for illustration: Birgit Lengert/Unsplash
Photo for illustration: Birgit Lengert/Unsplash

Quek Lye Seng had enjoyed picking fruit since he was a child. But on Friday, he did so for the last time after being attacked by a swarm of wasps in a forested area near Hillview MRT station in Singapore.

The 66-year-old sustained at least 30 stings to his face and head alone, according to Chinese-language site Lianhe Zaobao, one of three local outlets to report the story roughly four days after the incident.

Overwhelmed by stings, Quek staggered to a nearby train station, where, dizzy and struggling to breathe, he sought help from passersby, The New Paper reported.

He was rushed into Ng Teng Fong Hospital, where he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit before dying at about 9am the next day from what was said to be an anaphylactic reaction, a severe allergic reaction that results in breathing difficulties and low blood pressure.

Eventually, the toxins caused his vital organs to stop working, The Straits Times reported.

It is understood that Quek had been picking rambutans and durians at about 3pm in Hillview, near the Bukit Timah residential estate, when he accidentally disturbed the wasp nest.

Quek is survived by two sons. His wife, Ho Siew Lan, also died tragically, after being crushed by a falling tree in Bukit Batok Nature Park in 2007.

One of his sons, who declined to give his name, told local media that his father grew up in a kampong, or village, and that looking for fruit in forested areas had been a favorite past time of his since childhood.

He would go to the forested area near their Bukit Batok flat four to five times a week to gather fruit, the son told ST.

Quek’s wake and cremation was scheduled to take place today at Bright Hill Crematorium.

Correction: This story originally displayed a photo of bees. We have corrected the photo to show a wasp. We regret the error. 


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