A high school exchange pupil managed to stay calm and cheerful despite being stung repeatedly by wasps that got stuck inside his longjohns.
The 16-year-old Spaniard was one of nine year 13 pupils from Paraparaumu College who were tramping near Otaki Forks on Sunday morning when they came across several wasp nests.
All of them were stung once or twice, but the boy was stung about 15 times.
''He was wearing polypropylene longjohns. Because wasps got stuck in them, he was stung multiple times,'' said outdoor education department head Bridget Janse, who was stung on her head and her arm.
''He had a localised allergic reaction, because he had so many stings his body was under stress.
''I have never come across wasps quite as severe as this.''
She and some of the other pupils took the boy to the side of a nearby river, talked to him, assessed his breathing, removed his longjohns, wet them in the river and put them back on to cool his swollen legs.
''He was in obvious pain but remained calm, cheerful,'' she said.
He had been in New Zealand for only five weeks. His English was quite good but she had to repeat questions about his condition several times.
She gave antihistamines to him and some of the others, and decided to use her emergency beacon for the first time in 25 years of tramping, because she knew there was another wasp nest on their way out.
A rescue helicopter arrived about an hour and 45 minutes later, during which time she applied cold compresses to the boy's stings and monitored his breathing.
He was taken to Palmerston North Hospital but was back at college yesterday.
Janse said he been very brave throughout his ordeal.
''He went through a lot of firsts on the weekend. It was his first bush tramp, the first time he had been stung lots of times by wasps, and his first helicopter ride.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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