Official says two people injured by marksman when he tripped and discharged weapon during presidential address at opening of high-speed railway line
At least two people have been injured after a gun was accidentally fired during a speech by President Franois Hollande, French media have reported.
Hollande was speaking in the town of Villognon in central France to mark the opening of a high-speed railway line between Paris and Bordeaux when a police marksman accidentally opened fire, the Sud-Ouest newspaper reported.
The paper quoted local officials as saying the member of the elite gendarmerie protection squad charged with protecting the president was positioned on a rooftop about 100 metres from the marquee where the ceremony was taking place.
The safety catch on the officers rifle was reportedly off and the shot was fired when he tripped while adjusting his position. The bullet pierced the marquee roof, hitting a waiter in the leg and a railway employee in the foot, according to Pierre NGahane, state prefect of the Charente region.
There were unconfirmed local media reports that the sniper had shot himself in the foot and could be seen hopping up and down.
Hollande, who is not standing for a second term in the presidential elections next month, had just started speaking to the guests at a cocktail party to celebrate the opening of the line when the shot went off, the paper reported.
A loud noise like a gunshot is heard on video footage of the presidents speech. I hope there is nothing serious, Hollande said, then looked to his left and said, I dont think so. He then continued his speech.
An inquiry had been opened into the incident, officials said. The injuries were not said to be serious and Hollande was among the guests who rushed to their aid, according to Le Parisien.