Five children were injured, two seriously, when two inflatable bounce houses went airborne during a church festival in South Carolina.
The bounce houses were part of a carnival Saturday at Springwell Church in Taylors, S.C., near Greenville in the northwestern part of the state.
“Shortly after 2 p.m., an unexpected wind gust, out of our control, lifted an inflatable amusement that was on our campus for the event,” David Pearson, operations pastor at the church, said in a release. “We are saddened for those who were injured during the unfortunate accident today.”
Taylors Battalion Chief Ricky Reed said the structures were anchored down with stakes and straps.
“As I turned to my left I saw the first [bounce house] pick up about 10, 15 feet into the air,” Brandon Robinson said to CNN. “I didn’t see any kids fall out, but it came slamming right back down to the ground.
“About 10 seconds after that one picked up, the one right next to it just slung about 25 to 30 feet up in the air, got caught by the power lines, and hung there about 10 or 15 seconds.”
Elvis German told CNN he was working nearby. “My kids yelled at me and said ‘Look, Daddy,’ and I saw the bouncy house caught up in the power lines,” he said.” It was like 20 feet up in the air.”
A power line was also knocked down during the incident, leaving 970 Duke Energy customers without power for a few hours.
Reed said Duke Energy had a safety mechanism in which the power lines were designed to deactivate when arced before hitting the ground.
“Duke Energy told me that the lines had 12,460 volts running through them, which would have resulted in instant death when touched,” Reed said to WYFF-TV. “Duke Energy safeguards saved more lives than we did.”
In Essex, England, a 7-year-old girl died when a bounce house flew into the air in March 2016.