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Last Updated: Monday, 13 February 2006, 17:08 GMT
Cheney shoots man in hunt error
American Vice-President Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney is an experienced hunting enthusiast
US Vice-President Dick Cheney has accidentally shot and injured a man during a quail hunting trip.

The victim, named as Harry Whittington, was on the trip with Mr Cheney at a ranch in Texas when the incident took place on Saturday.

Mr Whittington, 78, was taken to hospital in the town of Corpus Christi, where an official said he was "very stable" and had rested well overnight.

Mr Cheney spent Sunday afternoon at the hospital, his spokeswoman said.

This is something that happens from time to time - you know, I've been peppered pretty well myself
Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong

The men were part of a quail hunting expedition at the Armstrong Ranch in south Texas.

Ranch owner Katharine Armstrong said Mr Cheney had turned round to shoot at a bird, unaware that Mr Whittington was behind him. He sprayed Mr Whittington with shotgun pellets.

"The covey flushed and the vice-president picked out a bird and was following it and shot. And by God, Harry was in the line of fire and got peppered pretty good," she said.

'Good spirits'

Mr Whittington was hit in the cheek, neck and chest, but was said to be "alert and doing fine" in hospital.

Giving an update on Mr Whittington's condition on Monday, hospital administrator Peter Banko said: "It's not critical. It's not serious. It's just stable at this time."

He said it was "fairly common procedure" that Mr Whittington had been admitted to the hospital's trauma-intensive care unit, because exploratory surgery might be needed to remove some pellets.

The vice-president's spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride, said Mr Cheney visited Mr Whittington in hospital on Sunday and was pleased to see that he was in good spirits.

A lawyer from Austin, Texas, Mr Whittington was initially treated at the ranch by medical staff who normally travel with the vice-president.

Mr Whittington's daughter, Sally, told the Dallas Morning News her father was being observed in hospital because of some swelling from the welts in his neck.

"It looks like chicken pox, kind of," she said. "He was very, very lucky that nothing seriously was injured."

Ms Armstrong said that Mr Cheney was a "very safe sportsman".

"This is something that happens from time to time. You know, I've been peppered pretty well myself," she said.

Mr Cheney returned to Washington on Sunday evening.

How the accidental shooting happened

Profile: Dick Cheney
03 Sep 04 |  Americas
Cheney faces impropriety claims
06 Feb 04 |  Americas

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