A grandmother was killed Saturday at a gender-reveal event in rural Iowa when the family inadvertently made a pipe bomb that exploded.
Pamela Kreimeyer, 56, was killed instantly when she was struck by a piece of metal flying through the air at a home in Knoxville, southeast of Des Moines, around 4 p.m.
“This family got together for what they thought was going to be a happy event with no intent for anyone to get hurt," said Marion County Sheriff Jason Sandholdt in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News. "What ended up happening was that Pamela Kreimeyer, a wife, mother and grandmother was killed by a piece of metal where a metal stand, gunpowder and colored powder were involved."
Kreimeyer and five others, including the unnamed expectant mother, had gathered at the home to experiment with different types of explosives with the goal of filming a gender-reveal announcement that could be posted on social media.
Authorities said gunpowder was placed inside a stand that was made with a metal base plate, which had a hole drilled in the side for a fuse. A piece of wood was placed over the gunpowder, and then colored powder was placed on top of the wood.
"Tape was then wrapped over the top of the metal tubing, inadvertently creating a pipe bomb," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "Instead of the gunpowder shooting the powder out the top of the stand, the stand exploded sending metal pieces flying."
Kreimeyer and the others were standing 45 feet away from the blast, but she was still struck in the head by a metal projectile, which was believed to have continued flying another 144 yards through the air.
Authorities have not announced any charges in the case, but the sheriff's office said the incident remains under investigation.
"This is a reminder that anytime someone mixes these things there is a high potential for serious injury or death; please do not take these unnecessary risks," said Sandholdt.
Messages to the Kreimeyer family were not immediately returned.
On her Facebook page, Kreimeyer was a proud grandmother whose profile picture was a photo of her three young grandchildren. "They are growing way too fast!!" she had written earlier this month.
Maggie Mae Phipps, a friend of Kreimeyer's, posted on Facebook Sunday morning after her death. "Just at a loss for words," she wrote.