About 130,000 rural customers south of Austin lost phone service for seven hours after bees attacked a construction worker. The worker jumped off his tractor on Tuesday to escape the swarm, hitting a lever that lowered an auger that sliced a fiber-optic line.
That cut landline, cellular and 911 emergency response services for the residents of the rural area in Hays County. Some digital providers in the area still had service.
It took county and telecommunication workers about three hours to determine the outage's cause. Service was restored to most of the county by last night.
Police and emergency workers told residents to go to local fire stations to report emergencies or, if their cell phones worked, to call alternate numbers that routed calls for help through a backup system.
The worker probably did the right thing by jumping off the tractor to avoid the bees. When confronted by bees that are attacking, the best thing to do is to leave the area quickly. Heavy equipment is particularly prone to stimulating stinging insect defense response, because it's often loud, causing plenty of vibration and emits exhaust fumes. --Richard Martyniak, Sep. 30, 2007