A 78-YEAR-OLD hunting companion of US Vice President Dick Cheney was recovering yesterday after Mr Cheney accidentally shot him during a weekend quail hunting trip, a hospital official said.
Peter Banko said Harry Whittington’s condition was "very stable".
Mr Whittington, an attorney from Texas, was flown to the hospital after Mr Cheney accidentally shot him at a ranch on Saturday afternoon, hitting him with birdshot.
"It’s not critical. It’s not serious," Mr Banko said.
He said admitting Mr Whittington to the trauma-intensive care unit was "a fairly common procedure" for a patient hit by a spray of the small pellets.
Mr Banko said: "My understanding from the physicians is that after you get peppered, sometimes they need to do exploratory surgeries if it gets lodged in a little deeper. Sometimes, it’s tweezers. I can’t really comment on how extensively he was sprayed."
He did not know when Mr Whittington would be released.
Mr Cheney visited Mr Whittington before returning to Washington.
Mr Whittington sent word through a hospital official that he would not comment, out of respect for Mr Cheney.
Katharine Armstrong, the ranch’s owner, said the accident occurred after Mr Cheney, Mr Whittington and another hunter got out of a car to shoot at a covey of quail.
She said Mr Whittington went to retrieve a bird he shot. Mr Cheney and the third hunter walked to another spot and discovered a second covey of quail.
Mr Whittington "came up behind the vice president and the other hunter and didn’t signal them or indicate to them or announce himself".
"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."