A Vienna teen-ager fleeing a swarm of bees was rescued from a ledge along the Potomac River yesterday after he tried to scamper to safety up a cliff and was trapped 100 feet up, according to police.
The rescue effort drew boats, two helicopters and rescue workers from four units--and helped slow traffic on the George Washington Parkway to a near crawl--before the youth, Joseph Murden, 17, was finally pulled to safety with the help of rock climbers from the Arlington rescue squad.
"It's over, let's just be thankful that I'm fine," said Murden, who suffered minor bee stings.
According to police and rescue officials, Murden and another Vienna youth were rock climbing at 2 p.m. near the Virginia end of the Chain Bridge when they were attacked by bees. Murden scurried farther up the cliff to get away from them and got trapped on the ledge. His friend climbed back down the rock face and ran to a nearby gas station to call for help.
Responding to initial reports that a youth had jumped off Chain Bridge to escape bees, rescue units from Arlington, the U.S. Park Police, D.C. police and the District's harbor patrol rushed boats, helicopters and other equipment to the river bank.
After about 1 1/2 hours of trying, police said, an Arlington fireman rappelled over the cliff and was able to tie a rope around Murden and pull him to safety shortly before 4 p.m. That rescue worker, according to Harbor police, also was stung by bees.
Police said Murden's bee stings were not serious and that his parents picked him up from Arlington rescue workers. Murden, who lives in the 1800 block of Foxstone Drive, reported to his job later in the day but would discuss neither his encounter with the bees nor his rescue from the cliff.
His mother, Mary Jo Murden, said her son was "fine," though "he kind of was embarrassed."
The bee attack follows by two days the death of a District woman in Glover Archbold Park after she suffered an allergic reaction to insect stings.