Gorge swimmers report gunshots fired around them into Columbia River

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A group of swimmers in the Gorge said they had a close call as bullets went whizzing past them and into the river Sunday.

Mark Frost with the Columbia Gorge Triathlon Club said they were out on the water for an annual five-mile swim from Mosier to Hood River when a mile into the swim bullets started hitting the water.

“It echoed across the canyon,” Frost said. “Some of our kayakers heard the bullets flying through the sky, I mean zinging through the air.”

He said within a matter of two minutes roughly 20 rounds darted past them and into the water.

“They started to see bullets landing around them and so they started waving their paddle like 'we are here, we’re here don’t shoot,' and shots kept on coming down,” Frost said.

He said one of their group members had a phone with them and called 911. Wasco County deputies said they searched the hillside above the river but never found a suspect or any evidence of gunfire.

Frost said the group of five swimmers and six kayakers take necessary precautions to show they are in the water. Each swimmer has an orange buoy attached to them and the kayakers are nearby at all times.

Deputies said this happened on the weekend of a youth duck hunt in the area and they are not sure if the shooting was an intentional act or it it was someone shooting in an irresponsible manner.

“Anyone who has a gun like that and fires it off across a highway into a recreation area is just somebody who doesn’t need to have a gun,” Frost said.

Wasco County deputies are investigating and asking anyone with information to call 541-296-5454.

Copyright 2017 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.



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