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Visitors in Nuuksio National Park in Espoo on 12 October 2020. (Jussi Nukari – Lehtikuva)

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A HUNTER is tentatively suspected of grossly negligent homicide for accidentally shooting a cross-country cyclist in Urho Kekkonen National Park in Finnish Lapland on Saturday, report YLE and Helsingin Sanomat.

Lapland Police Department on Sunday said it was notified that a bullet fired by a hunter had hit a cyclist in the national park at around 11am on Saturday.

Marko Ijäs, the detective chief inspector in charge of the pre-trial investigation at Lapland Police Department, told STT yesterday that he has relatively little information about the incident but confirmed that the hunter had the permits required to hunt in the national park.

“The person was hunting for birds on their own. The bullet was fired with a rifle,” he commented. “Police currently have no reason to suspect that the act was deliberate.”

Ijäs declined to comment on other details of the incident, such as the age of the hunter, saying the hunter had yet been interrogated by police. Neither the plaintiffs nor eyewitnesses had also yet been interviewed.

The hunter is tentatively suspected of grossly negligent homicide, an office that carries a penalty of a minimum of four months and maximum of six years in prison.

The victim of the accident, a 30-year-old cyclist from the capital region, succumbed to their injuries at the scene, despite the first-aid efforts of the four other cyclists accompanying them. The cyclists also placed a call to the emergency call centre without delay, but the first responders did not make it to the remote site in time.

Helsingin Sanomat on Sunday pointed out that the incident is the second deadly hunting-related accident this autumn, as a member of a hunting club died after a firearm believed to be empty went off in Kuusamo on 10 October. The newspaper also reminded that hunting is allowed fairly regularly in national parks in Finland.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT

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