Family members had hoped to build something fun for a gender reveal party, but they instead built an explosive device that killed a grandmother.
Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, was killed when a piece of shrapnel from the device struck her in the head at the Saturday soiree in Iowa, USA.
According to CNN, members of Kreimeyer’s family got together Friday to begin experimenting with “different types of explosive material” in hopes of creating a gender reveal device and recording the unveiling for friends and family on social media, the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
“On Saturday afternoon five family members and the expectant mother gathered and placed gunpowder in the bottom of a homemade stand that was welded to a metal base plate,” the sheriff’s statement said.
They drilled a hole in the side of the stand to install a fuse and placed a piece of wood on top of the gunpowder, before adding coloured powder indicating the baby’s gender, the statement said. The idea was that once the gunpowder ignited, it would launch the powder into the air typically blue for a boy or pink for a girl.
When the family members placed tape over the top of the metal tubing, they inadvertently created a pipe bomb, authorities said. Once the device was lit, the metal tubing exploded, sending shrapnel flying, the sheriff’s office said.
A piece of metal hit Kreimeyer, who was standing with family members a short distance from the device, killing her instantly, the statement said.
Gender reveal parties have grown in popularity in recent years, with expectant parents and guests gathering to learn the genders of unborn babies. The reveals can be as simple as cutting a cake or releasing balloons, but some events are more over the top.
Other celebrations have gone awry. A 2017 gender reveal in Arizona sparked a wildfire that burned 47,000 acres, while a July shindig in Australia ended prematurely when a car outfitted to belch blue smoke erupted in flames, forcing the driver and guests to flee.