A cyclist in Spain had to be treated in hospital to have shotgun pellets removed after being shot by a hunter who had mistaken him for a rabbit.
The incident happened on Sunday morning in the area of Orgegia in the province of Alicante, reports La Vanguardia.
The cyclist, named José Manuel Torán, was riding on a footpath on Monte Orgegia on the edge of the Costa Blanca city, a popular beauty spot with people who live there.
The cyclist spotted two hunters as a rode along the path, but moments later was shot by a third, with at least one cartridge discharged from the shotgun, according to police.
The rider was peppered with dozens of pellets, which hit him in the lower back, legs and buttocks.
He dialled 112 to call for help and local police and paramedics responded.
The hunter who had fired the shot was identified, and was found to have the required hunting licence. He said that he had shot the cyclist after confusing him for a rabbit.
Local police have said that the cyclist was taken to hospital where doctors removed some of the pellets, although a decision has yet to be made on whether to extract the more deeply embedded ones.
The rider was reported to be out of danger, and the pellets missed his vital organs.
Officers have drawn up a report which will be sent to magistrates and to national police to determine whether an investigation needs to be started into an alleged case of recklessness.
The rider meanwhile told Cadena SER that he had been surprised to encounter the hunters on the path since he had never seen any there before, and due to the area’s popularity with families at weekends.
While rare, we have reported on several cases over the years in which cyclists have been shot by hunters, including that of a British mountain biker living in the French Alps who in 2018 was killed by a 22 year old taking part in a shoot organised by a local hunting club.
In 2014, former Austrian national time trial champion Christiane Koschier was shot while preparing for a time trial near Vicenza, Italy.
Koschier, who spent the night in hospital but luckily suffered no long-term effects from the incident, joked afterwards that her rivals “can only stop me by shooting me.”
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.