Lapland police wrap up fatal hunting accident probe

A 30-year-old mountain biker died after being hit by a bird hunter's gunshot in October.

Urho Kekkonen National Park, file photo. Image: Maiju Saijets / Yle

Police in Finnish Lapland have closed a preliminary investigation into the accidental fatal shooting of a mountain biker at the Urho Kekkonen National Park in October.

Police said the hunter was hunting for birds and did not see the biker as the rifle was discharged, due to snow on the trees obscuring the hunter's view.

A single bullet struck the cyclist in the upper body, fatally injuring him, according to the Lapland police department's investigation director Marko Ijäs.

"The hunter did not see the cyclist. If that had been the case, this would not have happened," Ijäs said.

"The hunter said he did not intend to shoot a person and is very sorry about what happened," he explained.

The distance between the hunter and the shooting victim was 75 metres, according to the investigation, which also noted that a single shot was fired during the incident.

The case is now headed to the regional prosecutor's office of Northern Finland. The hunter is suspected of aggravated involuntary manslaughter as well as hunting offenses.

Hunter waited for authorities

The victim, a 30-year-old from the Helsinki region, had been biking through an area between Kemihaara and Korvatunturi with four others when the incident occurred at about 11 am on 17 October.

Immediately following the shooting, two of the cyclist's companions began administering first aid and then the hunter also arrived at the scene.

A third mountain biker called emergency services, which then advised the group on further first aid procedures. The bikers continued resuscitation attempts until emergency services granted them permission to stop.

The mountain bikers and hunter remained at the scene of the accident until authorities arrived, according to police.