'Pipe bomb' caused woman's death in gender-reveal party explosion

WATCH: A 56-year-old woman was killed after she was struck with a piece of debris from an explosion during a gender-reveal party in Knoxville, Iowa, on Saturday.

A woman has died of injuries she sustained from an explosion at a gender-reveal party in Knoxville, Iowa, according to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office.

The 56-year-old woman was struck by a piece of flying debris and was pronounced dead at the scene on Saturday afternoon, authorities said in a news release provided to local station WTKR. Her identity has not been released. The incident happened at a rural home outside the city.

“A gender-reveal announcement resulted in the explosion,” police said.

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The victim has been identified as Pamela Kreimeyer, 56. She was one of five family members who accompanied the expecting mother for the gender-reveal moment.

Authorities say the family was “experimenting with different types of explosive material” in order to create something that would capture attention on social media.

The family had built a homemade stand to launch a controlled explosion, but their fuse mechanism turned it into a “pipe bomb,” police said in a statement to local station KCCI.

“The stand exploded sending metal pieces flying,” police said.

Kreimeyer was standing approximately 45 feet away when she was struck in the head by a piece of metal.

“It’s believed that the projectile that struck the victim then continued another 144 yards through the air, coming to rest in a field,” police said.

The victim was a wife, mother and grandmother, Sheriff Jason Sandholdt told KCCI.

“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt,” Sandholdt said. “This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things, there is a high potential for serious injury or death.”

No charges have been announced at this point.

The results of the actual gender reveal have not been announced.

Gender-reveal parties started a decade ago as simple stunts involving coloured balloons or cakes. However, they have become increasingly elaborate — and occasionally dangerous — in recent years.

A gender-reveal stunt involving a coloured explosive package triggered a major wildfire in Arizona in 2017. That fire caused more than US$8 million in damage, and the father-to-be is currently on a payment plan to make up for it.

Gender-reveal bomb triggers major wildfire

A car was destroyed in Australia last year when the tires caught fire during a gender-reveal “burnout” that got out of hand. The father-to-be was spinning the car’s tires to give off coloured smoke when they erupted in flames.

Parenting blogger Jenna Karvunidis, who is credited with starting the gender-reveal trend, has said she regrets introducing the idea to the world.

“I’ve felt a lot of mixed feelings about my random contribution to the culture,” she wrote last summer. “Who cares what gender the baby is?”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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