Punkin Chunkin TV special canceled after accident

Special to the Sussex County Post Milton-based air cannon Pumpkin Reaper was among the local pumpkin chunkin teams that participated in a target shoot Oct. 12 at Parsons Farms Produce's fall festival event in Dagsboro.

BRIDGEVILLE — Citing an accident that left a woman in critical condition, the Science Channel has canceled its planned three-hour Punkin Chunkin special.

The program was scheduled to air on Nov. 26.

“In light of the unfortunate incident at the Punkin Chunkin event on Nov. 6, Science Channel will not air ‘Punkin Chunkin’ as originally planned,” Science Channel spokesman Paul Schur said in a statement, “We are sending our hopes and prayers for a full recovery to the injured woman, her family and loved ones.”

“Mythbusters” alumni Kari Byron and Tory Belleci and co-host Kyle Hill were in Bridgeville to cover the event for the Science Channel.

On the final day of the World Championship Punkin Chunkin competition, an air cannon exploded and a trap door that hurtled from the cannon struck the woman, according to a report from the Delaware State Police.

After the incident, she was taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital in Seaford and then transferred to Christiana Hospital near Newark by helicopter. No update on her condition has been released.

The Punkin Chunkin competition, which features air cannons and other contraptions throwing pumpkins for distance, was shut down after the accident.

The air cannons feature tanks with several thousand pounds of pressure that force pumpkins out of long barrels once a valve is released.

The Punkin Reaper cannon has been in the competition for several years. At this year’s competition, the Milton-based team shot a pumpkin 3,377 feet.

The event was founded in Lewes in 1986.

This year’s Punkin Chunkin was the 29th edition, returning after a two-year absence precipitated by liability and insurance concerns stemming from a lawsuit filed on behalf of a volunteer worker who was seriously injured in the 2011 event.

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