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Police are reminding duck shooters and hunters to take extra care with firearms following two fatal incidents at the weekend.
In the first incident, Eastern Bay of Plenty police were called to a recreational shooting fatality about 8am yesterday in the rural farming area of Thornton near Whakatäne. Fifteen-year-old James Ross Bucko Johnston, of Thornton, Whakatäne, died following the discharge of a firearm while duck shooting. Detective Senior Sergeant Greg Standen says Police have completed initial investigations and will be working with the families involved over the ensuing days to provide the appropriate support. “This was a tragic incident and we urge all firearms users to please take extra care, as we don’t want to see any more tragedies this season.” In a second incident, Central District police were called to a fatality in Ruatiti near Raetihi, about 4:30pm yesterday, where a 21-year-old hunter died climbing over a fence while carrying a firearm. The Palmerston North rescue helicopter was called but the man died at the scene. Police have completed preliminary investigations into both incidents, with post mortems due to be carried out today. Police are not seeking any other witnesses to either case and both matters have been referred to the coroner. Media enquiries should be referred to Ohakune Police on (06) 358 0100. Police expect to name the 21-year-old man once formal identification is completed and next of kin have been informed. —