According to the Delaware State Police, the accident was reported at around 2:45 p.m. when an air cannon called “Pumpkin Reaper” was preparing for a launch.
For reasons that have yet to be determined, the trap door of the cannon, the area where pumpkins are loaded, separated upon the launch of the pumpkin.
The door and other parts were blown away from the cannon and into the air before coming down and striking a 39-year-old female in the head and face area.
The injured woman was treated immediately on scene by Sussex County Paramedics and transported to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.
The woman was then flown to Christiana Medical Center by LifeNet Helicopter where she is currently listed in critical condition.
A 56-year-old male was also injured in the incident and was taken to Nanticoke Memorial Hospital where he is currently being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.
Detectives with the Delaware State Police are being assisted by Delaware Department of Natural Resources in the investigation.
The long-running event in Sussex County had been on hiatus for a couple of years, after problems in obtaining affordable insurance, following a lawsuit by an injured volunteer.
Efforts to move the internationally known event to Dover failed for a number of reasons as did legislation that aimed to reduce the liability of organizers. Lobbying efforts by trial lawyers were blamed by supporters for the failure of the bill to pass.
This year’s event featured some changes that included new rules on alcohol beverages at the event held on a Sussex County farm.