Woman Remains in Critical Condition After Punkin Chunkin Acciden - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Woman Remains in Critical Condition After Punkin Chunkin Accident

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Punkin Chunkin Explosion Punkin Chunkin Explosion

BRIDGEVILLE, Del. - A woman remains in critical condition after an air cannon malfunctioned at Punkin Chunkin on Sunday afternoon.

Delaware State Police says the incident occurred around 2:45 on Sunday, when a trap door of an air cannon called the "Pumpkin Reaper" blew off the cannon into the air and went back into the crowd. Police say the door and other debris fell on the head and face of a 39-year-old woman. That woman was transported to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and later airlifted to Christiana Medical Center, where she remains in critical condition.

Steve Fuguet was filming video of Punkin Chunkin when the explosion happened.

"The first reaction was definitely look around--almost go into that duck mode," he said. "Second was obviously is to turn that attention and make sure that whomever was affected by it is okay."

Some Punkin Chunkin attendees told WBOC the woman worked for a production company that was filming Punkin Chunkin. A spokesperson for Discovery Communications (whose Science Channel covers Punkin Chunkin) had no comment.

A 56-year-old man was also injured in the explosion. He was treated at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital and later released.

WBOC confirmed the operator of the "Pumpkin Reaper" was 21-year-old Will Schell. Schell's family members say he is very upset, and that they are praying for the woman's recovery.

Delaware State Police and DNREC continue to investigate the explosion, but tell WBOC there is no indication of any negligence at this time. Fuguet seconded that, saying from what he saw, this was just a "freak accident." He said he hopes the explosion doesn't cancel future Punkin Chunkins.

"The safety of the event was bar none," he said. "It's a shame that something like this is probably gonna put a damper on it that it wasn't safe, but really,  it was the safest I'd ever seen it."

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