The future of a popular television show on the Science Channel may be in jeopardy after the producer of the segment was nearly killed in an explosion. The accident occurred during the 2016 World Championship Punkin Chunkin, an event where contestants compete to see who can send a pumpkin the farthest distance through the air. The participants use a variety of mechanical devices, including catapults, trebuchets, slingshots and air cannons. The world record for such a toss is nearly a mile.
At the world games, which were held in Delaware on November 6, 2016, Susan Dakessian, a producer for the Science Channel, was struck on the head by flying debris from an air cannon that exploded. She was in a restricted area, as she was leading a team that was covering the event for a special on the Science Channel. She told doctors that she heard the cannon explode and started running when she saw a metal plate coming at her. The plate struck her in the head.
Dakessian was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors removed part of her skull to accommodate swelling in her brain. Witnesses say she had a hard hat on at the time, but the weight of the shrapnel made the hard hat ineffective.
It’s not the first serious accident tied to the event. A volunteer was seriously hurt in 2011 and the event was canceled for 2014 and 2015, as organizers worked to put new safety measures in place. At the 2016 games, contestants had to have their devices inspected prior to launching a pumpkin and alcoholic beverages were banned on the firing line.
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