Authorities say a Georgia man who was videotaped last week shooting at a lawn mower packed with Tannerite lost his leg in the resulting explosion.
According to the Walton County Sheriff’s Department, a deputy responded to a 911 call Saturday about an explosion. The caller reported that 32-year-old David Pressley was shooting at a mixture of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder in the woods and “had possibly blown his legs off from the explosion.”
Two of Pressley’s friends fashioned a tourniquet around his leg, helped him into the front seat of a vehicle and drove him to a nearby road. EMS met the group there.
“EMS advised David was missing his left leg below the knee,” the Sheriff’s Department report says.
Pressley was airlifted to Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, and is now recovering from the incident.
One of Pressley’s friends told investigators they put three pounds of Tannerite into an old lawn mower “to blow it up.” The incident was captured on video.
The video shows Pressley dressed in what appears to be a tactical vest, shooting a semi-automatic rifle at the lawn mower, getting off more than 20 shots. On the last shot, the lawnmower explodes. Shrapnel can be seen flying in all direction.
“I blew my leg off!” Pressley yells.
“Call an ambulance! Call an ambulance!” another voice is heard yelling.
Tannerite is the brand name of a combination of ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder.
When mixed and shot with a high-velocity bullet, it creates a loud noise and explosion. Videos showing such explosions have become popular on the Internet.
“We get a lot of calls about Tannerite. It can be extremely dangerous if it is not used correctly,” Walton County Sheriff Joe Chapman says.
Last year, Indiana senator Jim Merritt (R) tried to restrict the sale of Tannerite with Senate Bill 176.
If passed, the bill would have prohibited the sale of Tannerite to customers younger than 18 and required retailers to place the products behind the counter or in a locked display case.
Customers would have to provide a valid ID to prove their age and retail violators would face a fine of up to $500.
“The overall sense with me is that this is a safety issue that we need to restrict the sale of this by reminding everyone of the danger of it,” said Merritt, a Republican from Indianapolis.
Tannerite, manufactured by Oregon-based Tannerite Sports LLC, is the most popular brand of exploding compound, more commonly known as exploding rifle targets. The product is named after its inventor and the company’s CEO, Daniel Tanner.