Pelion, SC (Paul Kirby) – A young man in his mid-twenties was accidentally shot at the site of a massive Airsoft game that was held at Escue’s Airsoft on Founders Road between Pelion and Red Bank early Sunday morning. The accident injured the young man to the point that the EMS personnel from Lexington County requested a medical evacuation helicopter respond. A Life Net helicopter landed in a nearby community for the transfer from Lexington County’s ground transport to the helicopter.
Escue’s is a large tract of land that has been transformed into an Airsoft field near where Founders and Windy Wood Roads connect. Airsoft is a popular game that is played much like paintball but, uses small, plastic pellets that fire from an air powered guns. A hit makes the player either “injured” or “dead.” Airsoft guns look very much like a real gun.
At Escue playing field, there have been bunkers, structures, and simulated battlefields built where the players can safely simulate serving in the military and fighting in battles. There’s even a small tank, built on the chassis of a golf cart, that fires multiple rounds at the enemy. It can be disabled by a player that hits it with a foam-rubber type round from an air fired bazooka.
The Escues have rigorous safety protocols and procedures in place, and they are strictly enforced. Players can be told to leave the game and property for even the smallest of violations of any of those. Even if someone was struck by an Airsoft pellet, the damage to them would be minor unless they were struck in a sensitive area like their eye. All players are required to don eye protection and other safety gear before stepping onto the simulated battlefields.
This weekend’s Airsoft game lasted several days, and players were allowed to camp onsite in a designated area away from the battlefields if they wished. Even though the temperatures were frigid, there were many tents pitched in the camping area near Founders Road.
According to David Escue, the owner of the field, a young man was wounded by a friend in the parking lot. They were preparing to play, and a member of his group was in the process of moving a real steel gun to a safe storage space. Another member of the group picked it up without the gun owner’s knowledge. The guy who picked it up, thought it was airsoft gun and discharged it, hitting the 3rd person in the back. Thankfully, the owner of the real steel gun was an ex-army medic who immediately rendered aid.
The condition of the young man has not been released by his family. Hospitals, doctors, and other medical staff cannot release information regarding a patient’s status without their consent.
The sheriff’s department is investigating, but they have given no indication that this was anything but accidental.