Two hurt in explosion at Delware pumpkin flinging contest

Two people were hurt, one critically, when a device designed to hurl pumpkins across a field, called the "Pumpkin Reaper," exploded Sunday afternoon in Delaware. File photo Gary C. Caskey/UPI | License Photo

BRIDGEVILLE, Del., Nov. 6 (UPI) — Two people in Delaware were hurt when an air cannon exploded during an annual pumpkin hurling contest.

A woman was sent to the hospital in critical condition, and a man has non-life-threatening injuries, after the “Pumpkin Reaper” exploded during launch at the annual Punkin Chunkin.

The Punkin Chunkin is an annual event in Bridgeville, similar to others around the country, involving teams competing to see who can chuck a pumpkin the farthest using a catapult or other mechanical device to do so.

When a pumpkin was launched from the “Pumpkin Reaper,” the trap door where pumpkins are loaded separated. It and other parts of the device were blown into the air, with a large piece hitting a woman in the head and face. The woman was stabilized at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and then flown to Christiana Hospital, where she is in critical condition, according to Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale, spokesman for the Delaware State Police.

In addition to the woman, a man received minor injuries and is being treated at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

Police say they are unsure why the canon exploded. They said injuries were limited because the area where the canon exploded is roped off from the general public.

The Punkin Chunkin has been cancelled the last two years since a volunteer spotter, whose job it is to measure the distance pumpkins travel, flipped while riding an ATV and sustained a spinal injury. Before 2013, the event had been held annually, drawing as many 20,000 people.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here