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'Unrecognizable': Boy burned over 76% of his body after dangerous TikTok challenge

Image source: WRAL screenshot compilation

A boy participating in a TikTok challenge was burned over 76% of his body when a makeshift flamethrower blew up, engulfing him in flames, WRAL reported.

"He's unrecognizable. Unrecognizable," Mason Dark's mother, Holli Dark, told the outlet, describing her son's current condition.

Mason Dark, 16, was severely injured in the ensuing explosion after accepting a dare to use a lighter and a can of spray paint to make a torch April 23.

Mason, a 16-year-old student athlete at Heritage High School in Wake Forest, North Carolina, is now at the University of North Carolina's Burn Center, where he will likely remain for at least six months.

Photos of Mason in his hospital room show him covered in dressings, connected to a ventilator and other medical devices.

Mason underwent surgery Wednesday for skin grafts, the outlet reported. His mother described the process as "like seeding a lawn" to see the teen's skin slowly heal.

Holli Dark told the outlet Mason immediately jumped in a river in an attempt to soothe the pain. When he tried to take off his shirt, she explained, "it got stuck or something," and created third degree burns in the shape of a "T" on his back.

Heidi Simpson, Mason's grandmother, has posted several updates on her grandson's condition. In the most recent update, Mason's "BoBo" says that he is having a rough time being weaned from the ventilator.

Simpson describes Mason as a "very active 16 year old" who plays football at his high school and runs track in the summer. She says he has a job he enjoys and looks forward to getting his license.

Simpson set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds to support her grandson's care. As of Sunday afternoon, the campaign had raised over $30,000.

In a Saturday update, Simpson expressed her gratitude for the prayers, love, support, and generous donations.

"We are humbled by everyone’s kindness! We thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, support and love. Thank you for everyone that has offered help with [Mason's 13-year-old brother] Austin or help with other needs. Please keep praying!!!! The Lord is in control," Simpson wrote.

Watch WRAL's coverage of the horrific, life-threatening injuries sustained by 16-year-old Mason Dark after participating in a TikTok challenge to make a mini flamethrower.

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