Man, Woman Injured in Explosion During Punkin Chunkin Contest in Delaware

A man and a woman were injured during the annual Punkin Chunkin contest in Delaware.

The incident occurred around 2:45 p.m. Sunday during the event on Apple Tree Road in Bridgeville.

An air cannon, the "Pumpkin Reaper," was about to launch when the trap door of the cannon, where the pumpkins are loaded, separated. The door and other parts of the cannon were blown away and into the air before landing on a 39-year-old woman, striking her in the head and face. A 56-year-old man also was injured in the blast.

The woman was treated at the scene by paramedics and then taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. She was stabilized and then flown to the Christiana Medical Center, where she was in critical condition.

The 56-year-old man also was taken to Nanticoke Memorial, where he was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

The Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources are investigating the incident.

The Punkin Chunkin is a popular festival in which teams compete to fling pumpkins. The three-day event, which began Friday, returned to Bridgeville after a two-year absence.

Landowner Dale Wheatley had decided to stop hosting the festival following a personal injury lawsuit in 2013. World Championship Punkin Chunkin president Frank Payton later said that an insurance policy was in place to protect the landowner. The lawsuit was later dismissed.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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