EASTON, Md. — A goose that plunged from the sky knocked a Maryland hunter unconscious and sent him to the hospital.
Robert Meilhammer, 51, of Crapo, Md., was flown Thursday to the University of Maryland Medical Center's Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, according to Maryland Natural Resources Police.
A hunting party in Easton was in a blind shooting at a flock of geese. One that was shot in flight fell about 90 feet to the ground, hitting Meilhammer directly in the head, Natural Resources spokeswoman Candy Thomson said. That's about the height of a nine-story building.
The incident would have happened quickly: An object 90 feet in the air takes less than 3 seconds to fall to the ground if you ignore the effects of wind, according to a free-fall calculator that does the math on the equation you learned in physics class. At the point the bird hit Meilhammer, it would have been traveling at more than 50 miles an hour; gravity increases any object's speed as it gets closer to the ground.
Natural Resources officers, Talbot County sheriff's deputies and emergency medical technicians arrived shortly before 5 p.m. ET at the wooded area where the men were hunting.
When Meilhammer came to, Thomson said he knew his name but was hazy on other details.
As a precaution, he was taken via ambulance to Easton Airport and flown to Baltimore to be treated for injuries to his head and face. Friday afternoon, the department tweeted that Meilhammer was in stable condition and awaiting additional tests.
Thomson and the lieutenant who responded to the scene had never seen a similar hunting accident previously, she said.
"This is highly unusual," Thomson said.