Child dies after being catapulted 20 feet in the air as bouncy castle explodes due to heatwave
A child has died in a freak accident on the Gorleston beach in Norfolk after being catapulted 20 feet in the air as the bouncy castle she was in exploded
A young child has died in a freak accident on a beach in Norfolk after being catapulted "20 feet in the air" as the bouncy castle she was in "exploded". The child suffered a cardiac arrest after she was thrown into the air in front of horrified beachgoers on the Gorleston beach. Witnesses who saw the event described suddenly hearing "the most enormous bang" and then saw the young child being "catapulted" into the air. Emergency services arrived at the scene shortly after and tried to keep the child alive by giving her CPR. Unfortunately, the child, whose identity has not been revealed, died at the James Paget Hospital after she was rushed there. She was believed to be less than four years old.
The girl had been playing on the trampoline section of the Bounce About located on the Gorleston beach in Norfolk. The inflatable entertainment unit for children has a slide, trampolines, and a rodeo ride. The 47-year-old owner Curt Johnson was not there at the time of the incident and he said that the inflatable attraction probably exploded because of the heat, the Daily Mail reported. Families in the country are trying to make the best of the heatwave as temperatures peaked at 23C (73F).
Johnson said: "It is very upsetting. We have been at the beach for a very long time, definitely a number of years, and it is the first accident we have had there and it is quite shocking." One of the witnesses at the beach said: "Just seen the most horrific thing in my life. A bouncy castle exploded at the beach and the child on it was catapulted about 20ft into the air. PLEASE do not allow your children on a bouncy castle in this heat and PLEASE say a prayer for the 4-year-old [who was] rushed to hospital after 15 minutes of CPR. Totally heartbroken to hear that the little girl didn't make it. Thoughts and prayers go out to her family."
One witness who was leaving the beach at the time the inflatable exploded, Karen Sell, said: "I was walking away from the beach and I heard the most enormous bang and straight away turned round. I was at the top of the stairs near the cliff that overlooks the beach and people were all there and everyone was in shock. I spoke to someone who described how the girl was just thrown about 20ft into the air and landed on the floor. It was just terrible. A man was giving the girl CPR for quite a while before they took her hospital. The bouncy castle was not like one I have seen before. It was like a trampoline so you could jump a lot higher on it than a normal one."
Another witness who was sitting very close to the attraction, Kayla-Ann Weaver, said: "I cannot believe what I just witnessed on Gorleston beach. Never ever will I let my girls on a bouncy castle ever. My thoughts are with the little girls family. I was right next to it. The girls wanted to go on it and I said no. I sat next to it behind the barrier and I just heard a big bang and I turn around and a little girl in pink flew up and back down. They did CPR on her straight away. She looked a lot younger than four-years-old. It is terrible. Cherish every moment you never know what could happen in a blink of an eye.
A joint investigation was started between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), one of the local authorities and the police to find out what happened at the beach. After the incident occured, the East of England Ambulance Service said that it has received more than a dozen phone calls about it.
A spokesperson for the company said: "We attended the incident this morning at Gorleston beach involving a patient using inflatable equipment. More than a dozen calls were received at just after 11am, and several people at the scene including the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) were providing assistance to the patient. Several of our teams were dispatched, with the first on scene in four minutes.
"The young female was seriously injured and in cardiac arrest on our arrival, and was conveyed to James Paget Hospital. Sadly, despite all the of the efforts and interventions, she was pronounced deceased. We would like to thank everyone who rushed to respond the young patient, and did everything possible to give her treatment and care. Our thoughts are with the family at this time."
This incident is only the latest in a series where a day of fun with the family turned into a nightmare involving giant inflatables. Fairground worker couple 29-year-old William Thurston and his wife, 26-year-old Shelby, were held accountable for the "entirely preventable" death of a girl after she was blown away while playing in a bouncy castle that was not tied down properly. The couple were sentenced to three years in prison this June.
The trial held at Chelmsford Crown Court heard that seven-year-old Summer Grant was killed after a huge gust of wind picked up the nflatable she was in and sent it "cartwheeling" almost 300 meters down a hill at an Easter fair that took place in Harlow, Essex. The Thurston's, who are from Whitecross Road near Ely in Cambridgeshire, were found guilty of manslaughter by gross negligence and of a health and safety offence after the incident that took place on March 26, 2016.