Exploding Chewing Gum Kills Student

The Ukrainian man had a habit of dipping gum in citric acid.

ByABC News
December 9, 2009, 11:38 AM

MOSCOW, Dec. 9, 2009 — -- A Ukrainian man's jaw was blown off after he laced his chewing gum with an unknown substance, local authorities in the country's Sumy region said of the man who died from his injuries.

A chemistry student at the Kiev Polytechnic Institute who was identified only by his first name Vladimir liked to chew gum and dip it in citric acid, his family said.

He was working on his home computer Saturday night in the town of Konotop when his mother heard the sound of the explosion, according to authorities. She turned around to find Vladimir, 25, on the floor with his face bleeding and his jaw blown off.

Emergency services couldn't do anything to save him.

A forensics test revealed that the piece of gum was laced with an unidentified chemical, possibly an explosive, according to Russian state-run news service RIA Novosti.

Sumy police officials found an unidentified substance and citric acid near Vladimir's body, saying in a statement that he may have confused the two.

Friends and classmates told police that Vladimir was a quiet and level-headed man who, from a young age, enjoyed math, physics and chemistry. He made homemade firecrackers, they said, hoping to be a scientist when he grew up.

He was home for the holidays after finishing this semester's exams, spending most of his time on the computer and experimenting with various chemicals.

The authorities are conducting more tests on the unknown substance.