A single shot fired by a Swedish hunter that first hit an elk continued to travel, hitting a 71-year-old skier and killing him on Saturday, police have concluded in their initial investigation, according to The Local.se.
The investigation revealed that the hunter only fired one shot in the accident in Annerstad west of Ljungby in southern Sweden.
The accident occurred at noon on Saturday. However, police waited until the evening to inform the skier`s relatives of the tragedy.
Police in Kronoberg county remained extremely reticent about details involving the hunting accident on the grounds of the continuing investigation, but also for the sake of the hunter and her hunting companion, who were shaken up after the incident.
Henrik Barnekow, a hunting consultant at the Swedish Hunters Association (Svenska Jägareförbundet) in Kristianstad, told news agency TT that it is not uncommon for a shot to pass through an elk or any other game. However, he has never heard of a bullet continuing on to kill someone.
"However, there have been incidents of a bullet ricocheting out of the game, continuing and killing the hunter`s dog situated near the prey," he added.
According to Barnekow, it is the hunter`s responsibility to ensure that there is a so-called safety area behind the target: a hill or firm ground behind the animal where the bullet can land safely if the shot misses.
"Forests do not count as safety areas," he noted.
If a bullet from a hunting rifle does not stop, it could continue travelling for up to 4 to 5 kilometres, according to Barnekow.
Christina Nilson-Dag, the association`s communications director, said that it is extremely rare for people who are not personally involved in the hunt to suffer from hunting accidents, adding that a single incident occurs at most every 10 years.
In 2002, an 80-year-old elk hunter in the Sundsvall region killed a 41-year-old Lithuanian berry picker that he believed was as a moose. The hunter was convicted of aggravated manslaughter, but was not sentenced to prison due to his advanced age.
"It is the only accident of this nature that I can recall," said Nilson-Dag.