A nest of wasps disturbed at a Nelson beach stung a group of school pupils, leaving nine in hospital and a grandmother in a serious condition.
About 90 Victory School pupils were on a treasure hunt at Tahunanui Beach when one disturbed a wasps' nest around 12.30pm.
Nine children, aged about 10, were taken to Nelson Hospital for multiple sting injuries, St John Ambulance operations team leader Matt Wilkinson said.
One woman, a grandmother of one of the students, went to hospital in a serious condition after suffering an allergic reaction.
One of the pupils Jovaan Lenoel said he was looking forward to his class pirate adventure when one of his classmates stood ''on something and heaps of wasps came flying from the ground''.
''There was this girl who was trying to find treasure and then a bee stung her on her neck.''
Everyone was screaming and running, he said.
The 8-year-old Victory Primary School student said he could not really see anything because ''too much was going on''. He suffered eight stings around his body, arms and legs.
''They managed to get inside my t-shirt. I have no idea how that happened.
''He was really scared and had never had anything like that happen to him before. Jovaan's grandfather, George Smith, said the wasps were "everywhere''.
'Our first reaction was just grab the kids and run away.''He suffered five stings.
''It did not matter, I was just trying to do what I could to get the children safe. It was madness.''
Nelson City Council communications manager Angela Ricker said Nelmac's wasp eradication expert was now at the site.
They cordoned off the area, near the beach cafe, and were in the process of poisoning the nest.
Councillor Matt Lawrey , who was a parent helper for the trip and the first person to inform the council of the drama said he was so impressed to see parents, kids, teachers and emergency services working together.
He could imagine it must have been horribly scary for the children and yet they all handled it very well.
''You could see people high-tailing it away from the wasps and regroup. Everyone banded together and it was remarkable.
''It was a great lesson for the children as to how to build resilience.
''Kids will be talking about this for years and years. It has been more than a beach trip, it has been an adventure.''
Victory Primary School deputy principal and teacher in charge Dave Sullivan said the pupils were searching for the last clue on the treasure hunt when the wasps nest was disturbed
- The Marlborough Express