TikTok challenge leaves N. Carolina teenager with 75% burns to his body: mother – Insider
A teenager in North Carolina has suffered burns to 75% of his body after attempting a TikTok challenge.
Mason Dark, 16, was engaging in a TikTok challenge that involved spraying a highly flammable paint aerosol into a lighter when his family heard a “big boom” when the can exploded, according to WRAL.
Dark was then set alight and jumped into a river to extinguish the flames, but he had already sustained severe burns.
His mother, Holli Dark, told WRAL that he is now “unrecognizable.”
“It is challenges on TikTok,” Dark said, per WRAL. “I guess kids have been doing this a long time.”
Dark was then rushed to the UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill, where he had surgery.
Doctors discovered the vast majority of his body was covered in third-degree burns.
“The way he looked when those kids saw him when he first came in, to what he looks like now, it’s 100 times different,” Dark’s mother said.
The teenager, an avid football player, is set to be in the burn unit for six months.
His family has set up a GoFundMe to cover medical bills and other expenses needed to aid Dark’s recovery.
At the time of writing, Dark remains sedated in hospital and has undergone his first of many surgeries.
“We thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, support, and love,” Dark’s grandmother wrote on the fundraising page, where the family has so far raised $20,000 of their $25,000 goal.
Per Insider’s research, there’s little evidence to suggest that such a challenge said to use spray paint and a lighter to create a makeshift flamethrower was currently widespread on TikTok.
Insider’s Joshua Zitser searched for various terms related to the supposed viral challenge, all of which returned only a handful of relevant videos with relatively few views.
May 3, 2023: This story has been updated to reflect that Mason Dark’s mother made the link between TikTok challenges and her son’s burn injuries.