Five bouncy castles in Alicante, Spain flew away with children in them on Sunday, in an accident witnesses described as “horrifying.” The incident injured 23 and hospitalized four, mostly minors.
The incident occurred at a vintage car fair in Alicante, southwestern Spain, on Sunday. The fair also included attractions for children, including games and inflatable playhouses. Witnesses testify that the gusts of wind at the fair were so strong that parents watched as their children were taken away inside the amusement contraptions. The wind had also destroyed tarps the night before, though without incident as the event had not yet begun.
According to Spanish newspaper El País, witnesses describe the incident as a “horror”: “We were listening to some guy play guitar and, suddenly, we felt a gust of wind. The castles went flying in the air with the children in them,” said one observer. “Parents were throwing themselves into the castle to make weight, while others, horrified because they couldn’t do anything, ran terrified while watching children from one to five years old bleeding,” said another witness.
Valencia’s La Vanguardia reports that Alicante police are investigating the incident. Legal regulations for bouncy castles specifically do not appear to exist in Spanish law, though the injuries may result in some civil lawsuits against the organizers of the event. Those hospitalized for injuries have now all been released. Injuries were almost entirely the product of children hitting the ground as the bouncy castles were dragged along or grazing each other.
Experts say that certain gusts of wind would render the use of a bouncy castle essentially impossible, and strong metal screws are recommended to keep the castles from drifting away on windy days. In a report from Spain’s La Sexta, these experts also note that floating bouncy castles are not as rare an occurrence as they should be for the safety of children. Watch the report detailing how the bouncy castles were attached to the ground and how they typically should be for safety precautions below: