Monday, December 1, 2008

Coroner: Archery Death Accidental

The archery death of a Deer Park Middle School student was unintentional, the Stevens County coroner said Sunday.

Alex Niskanen died Thanksgiving afternoon, after being shot with a hunting arrow while visiting friends south of Chewelah.
The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office has not identified the boy who released the arrow. County Coroner Patti Hancock said he was older than the victim.

"The two boys were outside playing," Hancock said. "They didn’t’ have a lot of power on the bow, but with a broadhead arrow, it doesn’t take much."

The arrow hit no bone, but severed the axillary artery in the 12-year-old boy’s left shoulder. He bled to death, Hancock said.
It’s not clear whether the two had been hunting. Whitetail deer currently are legal game for archers in the Chewelah area.
A man who answered the phone at the Niskanen residence in Deer Park said the family did not want to comment about the death.

Arrowheads used for hunting typically are made three or four razor-sharp blades designed to cause bleeding. By contrast, the heads on target arrows are cone-shaped, like a pencil point.
Deer Park elementary, middle and high schools are among 30 schools statewide that participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program. And while the training is designed for the controlled setting of a target range, students hear "over and over again" that bows can be dangerous, said Dave Mack, state program coordinator.
At least 100 students from Deer Park Middle School participate, Mack said. It’s not clear whether Alex Niskanen was part of that program.

A Deer Park seventh-grader with the same last name, but a different first name, placed fourth in a state championship held in March in East Wenatchee. The relationship between the two Niskanen boys was not clear Sunday.