Authorities say an Iowa family's attempt at a gender reveal party for a soon-to-be-born baby went horribly wrong when a homemade device that was meant to discharge coloured powder instead exploded like a pipe bomb, killing a 56-year-old relative.
The Marion County Sheriff's office said Pamela Kreimeyer died instantly when debris struck her head on Saturday 26th October before flying another 432 feet (132 meters) and landing in a nearby field in rural Knoxville, about 35 miles (56 kilometres) southeast of Des Moines.
Kreimeyer was 45 feet (14 meters) from the device when it exploded.
Family members had been experimenting with explosives in the hopes of posting a colourful announcement on social media, authorities said. They welded a metal cylinder to a stand and packed it with gunpowder that they thought would send the coloured baby powder aloft. But authorities say tape covering the top of the cylinder caused it to detonate like a pipe bomb.
Law enforcement officials expressed condolences to the family and warned about the dangers of using explosive materials.