A TikTok challenge that went horribly wrong left a 16-year-old North Carolina boy severely disfigured, with burns covering nearly 80% of his body.
Mason Dark and his friends were creating a makeshift torch with a spray paint can and a lighter, which triggered an explosion that consumed the teens in flames.
“He’s unrecognizable. Unrecognizable,” his mother, Holli Dark, told WRAL.
The teens from Wake Forest, a town roughly 17 miles northeast of Raleigh, were participating in a dangerous TikTok challenge where social media users use flammable aerosols to create miniature flamethrowers.
Instead of fanning the flame out, the can exploded.
“They all heard a big boom. And then Mason came running out and started taking off his shirt,” Dark said.
Mason hopped into a nearby river to soothe the burns, but emerged with charred skin.
Both moves ended up worsening his condition: The teenager suffered a T-shaped third-degree burn on his back from ripping off the flaming shift, and is at high risk of infection from the river water.
Mason was rushed to the UNC Burn Center with burns covering 76% of his body, his mother said.
“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,” said Dark.
Mason has already undergone several surgeries to get skin grafts. Dark told the outlet it’s like seeding a lawn to see her son’s skin slowly heal.
The teenager, who is a very active football player and track runner, is expected to spend the next six months at the burn center.