A 32-year-old Georgian man has, predictably, managed to blow his own leg off after shooting high-velocity rounds at a riding lawnmower packed with explosives, according to a report from MSN.
According to police reports, David Pressley, of Walton County, Georgia, packed the riding lawnmower with three pounds of Tannerite – a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder usually used for target practice, due to the fact that it will explode into highly-visible white smoke when struck with a high-velocity round, making for a very visible hit. If you’ve ever watched skeet shooting, you’ve probably seen tannerite in action.
As The Independent reports, Pressley was shooting at the lawnmower from a distance of 43 feet, firing repeatedly with a rifle until a round set the explosive off; among other instructions, the Tannerite website indicates that the shooter should: stand at least a hundred yards away per pound of Tannerite used, never pack the explosive inside, under, or near metal objects, and never use more than one pound unless it is explicitly required for extreme-long-range shooting.
None of this deterred Mr. Pressley, who, along with friends, packed an old riding lawnmower full of the explosive and set out to detonate it while his friend filmed video. The video shows Pressley shooting his firearm into the target, until it explodes, flinging Pressley and friend to the ground and spraying blood across the lens. A moment later Pressley yells, “I blew my leg off!”
Watch at your own discretion; the video, provided by USA Today, is extremely graphic.
Authorities later confirmed that a piece of lawnmower shrapnel struck Pressley with sufficient force to completely sever his leg from below the knee.
Pressley was less than 25 yards away from the lawnmower when it exploded; minimum safe distance would have been 300 yards. The explosion was powerful enough to shake nearby homes.
His friends, acting quickly, tied off his leg with a tourniquet, loaded him into a vehicle and drove him closer to the road, where he was picked up by authorities and airlifted to hospital. Their quick actions likely saved his life – it’s fortunate that they were just knocked down.
In the last few years, amateur online videos of target shooting, explosive detonations and other related pursuits have become increasingly-popular. Many videos show the effects of some of the most powerful weapons in the world. They’re usually shot by experts who know how to handle them, which Pressley certainly wasn’t. And with Tannerite being so easy to obtain in America, it’s become a popular subject of these videos. Some show explosions of 100 lbs or more, and many are certainly amateur productions.
It’s something that has Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman and Walton County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Craig League worried.
“Be careful. It’s very dangerous, it’s not a toy. It’s much more than a firecracker,” said Chapman, adding that he’s been receiving noise complaints due to Tannerite explosions several times a week. League, meanwhile, was more emphatic.
“It has become extremely popular in the last couple of years, and is sold in many outdoor supply stores such as Cabelas, Bass Pro Shops, Gander Mountain, and others. One of the drawbacks with Tannerite is that the more of the product that you mix together and shoot the bigger and louder the explosion. This makes it quite dangerous for amateur use.”
David Pressley, meanwhile, got lucky. He’s expected to make a full recovery – minus one part of his anatomy, at any rate.
Sheriff Chapman added that while locals are well-within their rights to use Tannerite on their own property, they should ensure that they have adequate space to do so safely.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]