In an almost surreal chain of events, a moose hunter in Norway ended up shooting an elderly man who thought he was safely sitting on the toilet inside his own holiday cottage. The moose, meanwhile, got away.
The 70-year-old victim of the errant shooting ended up being airlifted to Ullevål University Hospital in Oslo, where he was being treated in the intensive care unit on Friday. The hunter has been charged with negligence.
The drama unfolded at Hvaler, a chain of scenic islands off Norway’s southeastern coast near Fredrikstad. The popular holiday area is dotted with hytter (cottages) and owners in the area where the accidental shooting occurred, Løkkevika on the island known as Vesterøy, had signed documents allowing hunting in the area.
Local sheriff Erik Hulleberg said the hunter had spotted a moose near the 70-year-old’s cottage and zeroed in on it, “but the shot went an entirely different place than where it should have gone,” Hulleberg told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). “He was surprised it didn’t hit the moose.”
Instead, it went through the wall of the hytte, right where its bathroom is located. In a case of highly unfortunate timing, the 70-year-old owner was sitting on his toilet, and was hit in stomach.
His wounds were described as serious and he was flown north to the major hospital in Oslo, where doctors said he was improving on Friday. “The last report from the hospital we’ve had is that he’s doing better and his condition was stable,” Paul Horne of the Østfold Police District told NRK. “He’s awake and we’ve spoken with him.”
Police were also speaking with the hunter, who reportedly was distraught over the accident and keen to apologize to his unintended victim. Neither the hunter nor the hytte owner have been publicly identified but NRK spoke with the shameful hunter. “I’ve heard he’s doing better and I was very relieved to hear that,” he told NRK. “I hope I can get in touch with his family as soon as possible.”
The wounded 70-year-old declined comment but reported through a hospital employee that he holds no grudge against the hunter. Police, meanwhile, intended to examine the hunter’s rifle, to see whether it malfunctioned. The hunter was said to be experienced and couldn’t understand why his scope targeted the moose while the shot flew in another direction.
Apart from the citation for negligence, police said they had no plans to hold the man in custody. “This certainly wasn’t intentional on the part of the hunter, he never meant to shoot at people,” Hulleberg said. “This is really just a tragic accident.”