'TikTok challenge' leaves teen ‘unrecognisable’ with burns across his entire body

'TikTok challenge' leaves teen ‘unrecognisable’ with burns across his entire body
Teen overdoses on Benadryl in deadly TikTok challenge

A teenager was left with severe burns covering almost 80 per cent of his body after attempting an alledged TikTok challenge.

Mason Dark, 16, from North Carolina, had to fight for his life in hospital after trying to create a makeshift blowtorch using a spray paint can and a lighter.

The keen American football player was with his friends on 23 April when the can he was holding exploded in his hands, dousing him in flames.

“He’s unrecognisable,” his mother, Holli Dark, told local news outlet WRAL in the wake of the tragedy.

Sign up for our free Indy100 weekly newsletter

She recalled hearing a “boom” at their home in Wake Forest just moments before seeing Mason run outside and jump into a river next to the house.

He remains in the special burns unit of the University of North Carolina hospital, where he has already undergone a number of skin grafts and surgeries and is expected to stay there for around six months.

Holli explained that it wasn’t till four days after the horrifying accident that they learned the extent of his burns, discovering that they cover 76 per cent of his entire body.

She also pointed out that her son is at high risk of contracting an infection from the river water into which he jumped.

Wake Forest teen now in burn unit after TikTok challengeyoutu.be

As the 16-year-old begins his long recovery process, donations have been pouring into a GoFundMe set up by his grandmother, Heidi Simpson, to cover his hospital costs, as well as to pay for food, gas and rent for his family.

A statement on the fundraising site reads: "Mason has a long road ahead of him. Please pray for his recovery. He is in an incredible amount of pain and is sedated.”

The post ends: “Mason is a very active 16 yr old. Plays football for his high school and runs track in the summer for a local club. He has a job that he enjoys. He looks forward to getting his license.”

In just six days, the fund had received more than $40,000.

Mason before and after the devastating accidentHolli Dark/GoFundMe

The devastating news comes just days after 13-year-old Jacob Stevens died after attempting the so-called Benadryl challenge, which sees participants take large quantities of the over-the-counter antihistamine in a bid to induce hallucinations.

Jacob was at home with friends when he overdosed on the allergy pills. A video taken by his friends showed the boy downing more than 10 of the tablets, after which his body started to seize up.

He was rushed to hospital and put on a ventilator but, despite the medics’ best efforts, he passed away six days later.

His father, Justin Stevens, warned other parents to “keep an eye” on what their kids are doing on their phones and has encouraged them to discuss what happened to Jacob.

“I want everyone to know about my son,” he told ABC6.

Justin urged parents to show their kids a photo of Jacob fighting for his life to illustrate the risk of such challengesJustin Stevens/Facebook

TikTok responded to the tragedy in a statement shared with indy100, saying: "Our deepest sympathies go out to the family. At TikTok, we strictly prohibit and remove content that promotes dangerous behavior with the safety of our community as a priority. We have never seen this type of content trend on our platform and have blocked searches for years to help discourage copycat behavior.

"Our team of 40,000 safety professionals works to remove violations of our Community Guidelines and we encourage our community to report any content or accounts they're concerned about."

indy100 has contacted TikTok for comment.

Have your say in our news democracy. Click the upvote icon at the top of the page to help raise this article through the indy100 rankings.

The Conversation (0)