BALTIMORE — At least eight youngsters have been hurt seriously by bottle bombs they said they learned to make from watching the television show "MacGyver," authorities said.
The show's producers said they do not recall an episode in which the character used a bottle bomb, but some victims' mothers have told doctors they saw the show.
"This is a nightmare for us," said Dr. Terrence O'Brien, an ophthalmologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Wilmer Eye Institute. O'Brien said he knew of two mothers who said they watched the show a few weeks ago.
Harry Anderson, a spokesman for Paramount Pictures, said, "We're concerned about the children, but the producers of the show just don't remember that episode, and we would never divulge what devices are made of for fear someone would try to duplicate them at home."
"MacGyver" is an ABC-TV series whose hero uses scientific knowledge to outwit criminals.
The latest victim, Kevin Hines, 11, remained hospitalized Friday after his eye was badly burned March 15 by an exploding bottle bomb. He had picked up a glass bottle bomb that had been shaken by another boy.
The bombs are fashioned by putting powdered drain cleaner in a bottle, then adding water and another ingredient, causing a chemical reaction. The bottle is then capped and can explode upon the slightest tap.
According to O'Brien, Kevin was about to throw the bottle when it exploded in his right hand, propelling glass that slit his right eyeball. The other eye was splashed by the drain cleaner.
Among the other incidents, an 11-year-old Baltimore boy was injured when he struck a bottle bomb with a stick; a Baltimore woman told police that boys threw a similar bomb at her home; and a Harford County boy was seriously burned three weeks ago when he tried to make one of the devices.
All of the boys told authorities they learned to make the bottle bomb after watching "MacGyver." The show, broadcast in November, was recently repeated.
"Last year, a kid in Allegehny (County) was seriously injured trying to make a bomb after watching 'MacGyver,' " said Bob Thomas, a spokesman for the state fire marshal's office.