Florida tornado blows bouncy castle away with 3 kids inside
Children injured falling out of airborne bouncy castle after waterspout rocks Memorial Day beach party
Three children were injured at a Memorial Day event in Florida on Monday after unexpectedly taking one very dangerous bouncy castle ride.
According to the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, two inflatable bounce houses were uprooted from a local beach Monday afternoon when a waterspout came on shore — one of them, with three kids inside.
Waterspouts become tornadoes when they cross onto land.
The twister, which has since been classified as an EF-0 tornado by the National Weather Service, hurled both castles above the tree line, across four lanes of traffic, and into a nearby parking lot, shocking sunbathers and attendees of the city-sponsored Memorial Day family activity zone as it flew overhead.
Fortunately, all three children were ejected from the house before it left the beach area, dropping from the airborne inflatable onto sand.
NBC Miami reports that a five-year-old girl, a six-year-old girl, and an 11-year-old boy were transported to Broward Health Medical Center following the incident.
"I was thinking I was about to die," Shadaja Bryant,5, told NBC Miami. "I was in the bounce house and then it flew while I was in there, then I fell in the dirt."
Shadaja and the 11-year-old were treated for minor fractures and released from hospital, while the six-year-old girl was listed as stable, but held overnight for observation.
Shadaja sustained a broken arm in the incident as her father watched feeling "helpless."
"I was crying all the way there and from the time I saw the bounce house to the hospital I was crying, I was shaken real bad," said Ryan Howard. "I thought it was safe."
It kept spinning and that's when the little girl fell on the concrete.— Jammelia Wrap, eyewitness
Howard is not the first parent to learn the hard way that inflatable bounce houses aren't as safe as they seem.
Just one year ago this month, a bounce house at a New York apartment complex carried three children more than 15 metres into the air, leaving two of them with serious injuries.
A 2014 study conducted at Toronto's Ryerson University found that inflatable bounce houses account for 42 per cent of amusement park injuries in all age groups, with more than half of the injuries in kids aged 15 and under.
As video captured by a beachgoer who witnessed the bouncy castle incident in Florida on Monday shows, the sight of such a seemingly tame children's attraction taking flight could be enough to scare some people away from them for good.
"It was like spinning around, broke the basketball goal, it broke the light poles," Jammelia Wrap told NBC. "It kept spinning and that's when the little girl fell on the concrete."