A 32-year-old man’s leg was severed just below the knee with a piece of shrapnel when he and his friends blew up a lawn mower in a rural location near his home in Walton County, Georgia, on Saturday. The men were using Tannerite to blow up the riding mower, according to the Walton County Sheriff’s Office.
Tannerite is a combination of chemicals sold legally at most gun and sporting goods stores.
David Thomas Presley was airlifted to Grady Hospital in Atlanta.
Deputies were called to the wooded location at about 3:50pm.
One of the men at the site explained they put about three pounds of Tannerite inside the mower and Presley was shooting a gun at the Tannerite to ignite an explosion.
When a piece of the metal sheared Presley’s leg off, the friends placed him in a vehicle and drove to the end of a driveway, where they were met by an ambulance.
The witnesses videotaped the explosion, deputies said.
Sheriff Joe Chapman said that Presley was standing about 30 yards from the mower when it exploded.
Tannerite is composed of two chemicals and only explodes if hit by a high velocity object such as bullet.
The mixture is sold as an exploding target. One state, Maryland, has banned its sale to the public except those with a license to have explosives.
The Walton County Sheriff’s Office urged users on its Facebook page to be careful with the substance.
“Yes, it is legal and no, we can’t make people stop doing it. But why folks, just why,” the post read. “Please adhere to the warnings and use this dangerous material with caution or maybe consider other less dangerous hobbies.”