Scorpion Stings Another Traveler at Sky Harbor Airport; Officials Don't Know Where Bug Came From


Scorpions: 2

Sky Harbor travelers: 0

Last week, a local guy got stung on a plane from Phoenix to Indianapolis. Yesterday, a New Jersey man was stung in the neck as he waited in line at Terminal 2's security checkpoint.

Just a coincidence, says Alisa Smith, spokeswoman for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.

"We do not have an infestation of scorpions here," Smith tells us.

Cris Belfer, 19, was treated and released for the sting, missing his flight. Smith says the man, who came to Arizona for a visit, eventually made it home to New Jersey.

Smith isn't sure whether the offending critter was a bark scorpion like the one that stung 44-year-old Douglas Herbstsommer of Gilbert while he was aboard a Southwest Airlines flight.

Although Herbstsommer and Belfer didn't suffer much, the bark scorpion is highly poisonous and can kill babies, toddlers, or vulnerable elderly folks who aren't treated with antivenom.

We got stung once in the back. There was an initial pinch of pain, like a bad bee sting. Then the venom set in. You know the feeling when your arm or leg goes to sleep? The scorpion venom made our whole body tingle. Weird, but not that uncomfortable.

When children are stung, the symptoms may resemble a neurological disorder. An affected kid may suddenly have trouble speaking, sending parents into a panic. But as mentioned, only the smallest kids are in real danger.

Smith says it's possible that travelers somehow brought the scorpions with them to the airport and, in the case of Herbstsommer, on board a plane.



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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.