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Report: Utah boy died from gunpowder explosion

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – A 14-year-old boy who accidentally killed himself with a miniature cannon died after suffering severe head and face trauma from the powerful blast, not from being hit with a projectile, authorities said Monday.

Robby Ostberg died Jan. 23 at his home in Tremonton, about 75 miles north of Salt Lake City.

Authorities had initially said the boy was playing with what they described as a toy _ an 18th century replica cannon with a 6-inch metal barrel and a wooden base.

On Monday, however, Tremonton Police Chief David Nance said the cannon was designed to be fired just like a gun.

“It’s made to where you can put black powder down into it and fire it off,” Nance said.

The boy’s family had said he received the cannon as a gift from a neighbor several years ago. Relatives said Ostberg would sometimes fire tin foil balls from it.

A preliminary autopsy report indicated there was no projectile in the cannon at the time of the boy’s death, Nance said.

He said “just the force of the gases” caused the fatal injuries.

Authorities said they don’t plan to pursue criminal charges in the case.

“It’s just something that’s kind of one of those accidents,” Nance said.

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