Six people were attacked and killed by a swarm of bees after the bus they were traveling in plunged into a ravine in Nicaragua.

The bus was carrying about 45 to 60 people and was traveling from the city of Jinotega to San Sebastián de Yalí when the incident took place Monday. Due to a mechanical problem, the bus went off-road during the journey and plunged roughly 165 feet down the ravine, reported Sky News.

The vehicle crashed into a coffee plantation and struck several beehives, the New York Post reported.

The passengers inside the bus survived the initial crash. But as they crawled out of the bus, a swarm of Africanized bees attacked them and repeatedly stung them. Some of them were stung hundreds of times.

Six people, including an 8-year-old girl and an 84-year-old passenger, were killed by the insects, while 14 other passengers were left severely injured.

Some of the injured passengers received immediate medical attention at a health center close by. Others were transferred to a bigger hospital to receive treatment. A 4-year-old boy was among those injured. He remains in critical condition.

The Africanized honey bee is a cross-breed between the European honey bee and the African honey bee. They are also known as killer bees and are more dangerous than European honey bees, according to Smithsonian.

Brazil imported African honey bees in 1956 with the idea of cross-breeding them with local bees to increase the production of honey. The following year, a number of bees escaped, which led to the cross-breeding of African queens and European worker bees. The resultant Africanized bees eventually spread northward through South America, Central America and eastern Mexico.

These bees can attack 10 times faster than European bees and also chase after their victims for a quarter of a mile. Those attacked by these bees receive 10 times more stings than their European counterparts.

About 1,000 humans have been killed by Africanized bees since their population began multiplying in Brazil.

Representational image (bees)
Representational image (Source: Pixabay / Kloentaler) Pixabay / Kloentaler