The girls decided to heat up popcorn in a tin can, emulating a technique used by popular 25-year-old YouTuber Ms Yeah, reports The Beijing News via Metro.
“Ms Yeah,” whose real name is Zhou Xiaohui, gained popularity for her videos showing fans how to cook using common household and office items. She has over 7 million subscribers on YouTube and 8 million fans on Weibo.
Some of Zhou’s videos show her cooking beef slices using an iron, making cotton candy with an electric drill and using a computer to fry a pancake. One video shows her making popcorn using a tin can.
On August 22, the girls attempted to do a similar stunt but the tin can they used suddenly exploded. The older girl died from her injuries while the younger one, named Xiaoyu sustained injuries that needed cosmetic surgery.
According to Zhou, the girls did not exactly copy her video as they attempted a different method.She added that her videos are for entertainment purposes only and not meant to be instructional.
It was later found that the girls actually placed alcohol directly inside the tin cans before heating, which resulted in an explosion.
Representatives of “Ms Yeah” have reportedly met the families of both girls and agreed to pay them an unspecified amount, which includes covering the 12-year-old’s hospital bills. It was not reported if there would be additional compensation.
The representatives said they are willing to provide financial assistance to the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
Xiaoyu ended up with severe burns to her face and arms. Her father said that horrible burns have caused her to avoid going out of the house. Zhezhe, who suffered burns on 96% of her body, died two weeks later.
On a Weibo post earlier this month, Zhou recalled the incident as “The darkest day of my life.” She noted that the tragedy had caused her “immense pain,” and apologized for “letting her fans down.”
Zhou also vowed to delete all her videos that could potentially harm others.