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PA: Girl, father hurt in hunting accident

November 30, 2009

Girl, father hurt when rifle discharges in Indiana County hunting accident

Two hunters - a 10-year old girl and her father - were injured this morning when the girl's rifle discharged in a tree stand in Indiana County.

The accident occurred around 9:30 a.m. in a wooded area off Coke Oven Road in Center Township, six or seven miles north of Blairsville, according to an Indiana County 911 spokesman. Authorities have not released the identities of the victims.

The two were in the tree stand when the accident occurred, said Rob Gearhart, Coral-Graceton assistant fire chief.

"The daughter's gun accidentally discharged and struck the girl in the hand, and the father was struck in the right leg and the right hand," Gearhart said. "When I got there, a couple of other hunters got the daughter down (from the tree stand), but we still had to extricate the father."

The tree stand was located about a mile and a half off Route 119. The rural area forced emergency personnel to ride off the road in four-wheel-drive vehicles to reach the victims.

The girl was flown to Children's Hospital; her father was taken by medical helicopter to Allegheny General Hospital.

State Police in Indiana were called to the scene but will not handle the investigation.

"The Pennsylvania Game Commission is going to investigate, because it was a hunting accident," said Trooper John Matchik. "This does not appear to be criminal.".

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