August 9, 2022
Europe

Girl dies and eight hurt after wind blows bouncy castle into air in Spain

An eight-year-old girl has died and eight children have been injured after wind gusts lifted a bouncy castle metres into the air at a fair in eastern Spain.

Emergency services were called to the fairgrounds in Mislata, a municipality on the outskirts of Valencia, on Tuesday evening. Minutes earlier, horrified witnesses had watched as the fair’s inflatable structure became airborne, throwing several children on to the ground, according to El País newspaper.

Nine children were taken to hospital, two of them in a serious condition. Firefighters shared photos showing pieces of the deflated castle scattered across the fairground, adding that a search had been carried out to ensure that no children were trapped in the structure.

On Wednesday Mislata officials said one of the children, an eight-year-old girl, had died of her injuries. A four-year-old remains in hospital.

“A very sad day for Mislata,” the city’s mayor, Carlos Fernández Bielsa, tweeted.

The city declared a period of official mourning until Friday and said all remaining Christmas festivities, including a Three Kings parade planned for Wednesday, would be cancelled.

“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the child who lost her life. She was only eight years old,” officials said.

They said police were investigating to clarify the facts and determine the responsibilities, if any, of the company that set up the fair.

The death comes weeks after six children died when a gust sent a bouncy castle 10 metres (32ft) into the air in Tasmania. The incident, which under investigation, prompted calls for better regulation of safety standards on bouncy castles.

“Things like this should never happen,” Prof Rebecca Ivers, the head of the school of public health at the University of New South Wales, said, adding it was well known that the structures were prone to being lifted by gusts of wind.

In 2019, two children died when a tornado-like wind swept through a fair in China. In 2018, a British couple were convicted of manslaughter by gross negligence after the death of a girl on a bouncy castle in Norwich.

In November, a court in Spain sentenced a couple to a year in prison after an inflatable structure at their restaurant was carried for metres by strong winds in 2017, killing a six-year-old child and injuring six others. The court found that the structure had not been fully anchored to the ground.

“The tragic accident was a direct consequence of non-compliance with assembly, safety and supervisory measures,” it said.

SOURCE

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