Stray bullet that hit hiker probably came from sea exercises

An investigation into an accidental shooting has found that a .50 caliber machine gun bullet found at the scene most likely came from a marine exercise in waters near Chai Mountain last Friday.

See previous story: Hiker suspected shot by stray bullet from military firing range

A 66-year-old man named Chen was shot in the ankle while hiking on Chai Mountain in Kaohsiung City December 11. Investigators at first believed that the bullet came from a nearby military shooting range.

On the day of the shooting a .50 caliber bullet was found around 200 meters from where Chen was shot. Blood traces on the bullet were DNA-matched to Mr Chen.

However, marines training at the military shooting range around 2 kilometers from the site of the shooting had been using handguns and rifles at the time, while the .50 caliber bullet could only have come from a machine gun.

The investigation then turned to a marine live fire exercise that was being carried out Friday morning, also around 2 kilometers from the site where Chen was shot.

Investigators now believe that the bullet most likely came from a .50 caliber machine gun mounted on a Marine Corps M8 speedboat. The M8 speedboats were being used in a simulated beach landing exercise at the time.

Wind and wave movement most likely caused the bullet to fly upwards on a trajectory that led to Mr Chen being shot on Chai Mountain, the investigators said.

Ballistic tests to match the bullet to a gun will take some time, military officials said.

map showing probable trajectory of stray bullet
Map showing probable trajectory of bullet that hit hiker on Chai Mountain.
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