A chemistry student from the northern Ukrainian city of Konotop was killed when a stick of chewing gum exploded in his mouth, Ukrainian media reported on Tuesday.
The 25-year-old student of Ukraine's Kiev Polytechnic Institute was working at a computer in his parents' house late on Saturday when the incident occurred.
"A loud pop was heard from the student's room," the ukranews.com portal said, citing an aide to the city's police chief. "When his relatives entered the room they saw that the lower part of the young man's face had been blown off."
A forensic examination established that the chewing gum was covered with an unidentified chemical substance, thought to be some type of explosive material.
Police questioning revealed that the student had a bizarre habit of chewing gum after dunking it into citric acid. On his table, police found both citric acid packets and a similar-looking unidentified substance, believed to be some kind of explosive material.
Investigators believe that the student simply confused the packets, and put the gum, covered with explosive material, into his mouth.
Although the local forensic department does not have the necessary equipment to identify the substance, it refused to send it to the capital, Kiev, over fears that it might explode during transportation. Forensic experts from Kiev are expected in Konotop on Wednesday.
Investigators are to decide within a 10-day period whether a criminal case should be launched.
MOSCOW, December 8 (RIA Novosti)
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