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Two boys seriously injured when bounce house is blown into the air by wind

2014-05-13T17:00:00Z 2014-05-16T21:17:14Z Two boys seriously injured when bounce house is blown into the air by wind Glens Falls Post-Star

SOUTH GLENS FALLS -- Two young boys were seriously hurt late Monday afternoon when a gust of wind blew an inflatable “bounce house” into the air with three children inside, tossing two of them to the asphalt from at least 15 feet above ground.

The boys, ages 5 and 6, were taken to Albany Medical Center, where they were admitted for serious injuries. One suffered a traumatic head injury, officials said. A 10-year-old girl who was inside suffered minor scrapes when she fell, according to her mother.

One of the boys landed on a parked car while the other landed on pavement after being tossed out of the toy when the incident happened at about 3:20 p.m. off Ferry Boulevard.

Taylor Seymour, a resident of the apartment building where the accident occurred, said the wind picked the structure up and spun it around as if it was in a small tornado. One boy was thrown 30 or 40 feet northeast onto Ferry Boulevard, the other about 20 feet southeast, landing on the back of Seymour’s car. The bounce house was at least 15 feet off the ground when the boys flew out.

“It was like a horror movie,” she said. “It just kept going up and up. It cleared our building and the trees.”

South Glens Falls Police Patrolman David Gifford said the boys’ conditions were not known as of early Tuesday, but he said the one who landed on the pavement was conscious and talking at the scene. Police did not release their names.

A neighbor said the younger boy suffered two broken arms and facial injuries, while the older boy suffered a serious head injury. Both were reportedly conscious and alert at the hospital later Tuesday.

The wind blew the house more than 50 feet in the air, from in front of a four-apartment complex at 22 Ferry Blvd. to the fields behind Oliver W. Winch Middle School, according to police and the girl’s mother, who spoke on condition her name not be published. The inflatable structure had to clear a large stretch of woods to get to school property.

South Glens Falls student Emily Boucher, who was preparing for a lacrosse game at the Middle School, took a shocking picture of the toy as it flew through the air. The Bouchers gave The Post-Star exclusive rights to use the photo, and proceeds of its sale to other media outlets will be donated by the Bouchers to the families of the boys who were hurt.

Media outlets from around the world sought permission to use the photo Tuesday.

The mother of the 10-year-old girl said her child was near the bounce house’s door and was tossed out as it lifted off the ground, but the two other children were not as fortunate and were higher off the ground when they fell.

Gifford said witnesses estimated the bounce house was about 15 feet off the ground when the boys fell. The structure was not enclosed at the top but was surrounded by netting on the sides.

“My older daughters witnessed it and said it was just horrible,” the girl’s mother said. “A big gust of wind just blew it right off the ground with the kids in it. It’s just sickening.”

Gifford said the bounce house, a Little Tikes brand toy that is about 10 feet by 10 feet, was recovered by police on the middle school property, near the bus garage.

The bounce house was owned by a resident of the complex, and it had been set up for neighborhood children. Gifford and the mother of the girl said it was fixed to the ground with stakes, but the wind pulled them out.

“The witnesses said it was a sudden burst of wind and it just lifted off the ground,” Gifford said. “It was just a freak accident.”

Seymour said the owner of the toy, who was not a parent of the injured children, has owned it for a few years and set it up numerous times. She said he put it up earlier Monday, and stakes were used to secure it to the ground. She said one of the stakes landed across a parking lot and near the apartment building.

The mother said neither she nor others whose children had been using the toy realized the danger on windy days.

“I don’t think people know that this can happen when it’s windy,” the mother said.

Both boys are kindergartners at Harrison Avenue Elementary School. South Glens Falls School Superintendent Michael Patton said staff was on hand at the school Tuesday to offer support as needed to children and staff members.

Dozens of children around the country have been injured and numerous children killed in recent years from similar accidents, as bounce houses have become more popular and prevalent.

Copyright 2015 Glens Falls Post-Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(29) Comments

  1. brenslaw
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    brenslaw - May 15, 2014 7:07 pm
    I also wondered the same... I saw it flyin in the air from my driveway thought it was a kite ..I said to myself how are they flying that its not even windy?
  2. Tchelles
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    Tchelles - May 15, 2014 12:45 am
    That's the same question I'm asking. Once it detached from the air blower it should have started deflating. I think more investigation is needed. It sounds like this voice house was filled with Helium and the valve closed off, that is the only way I can see this logically happening.
  3. BigDaddy
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    BigDaddy - May 14, 2014 9:20 pm
    The kids fell out at 10 to 15 feet. When this photo was taken no kids were inside.
  4. hammer54
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    hammer54 - May 14, 2014 5:52 pm
    Hope the Kids recover fully, soon! I have friends in South GF and to my recollection the soil is very sandy in that area. The ground in the pit areas at the old Drag Strip was sand covered with PCB oil, but still sand (itchy sand). Stakes do not hold worth a damn in sandy soils, no matter the type of stake! Auger type anchors are the the only type that are semi-secure or useful in sandy soil. Long drive pins are needed (3 to 4 feet minimum length) instead of stakes. Large, heavy buried anchors are in sandy soil. Pitching a large camping tent, securely, on Cape Cod was always a challenge due to sand.
  5. Grandma22
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    Grandma22 - May 14, 2014 4:42 pm
    I don't want to sound like a skeptic, but the stakes that came with mine are a good 10 inches. Unless there was some sort of a funnel windstorm, with the house being properly staked, and with adult supervision....I don't know how this could have gotten so out of hand. I think there may be more to this story than what's being told.
  6. Grandma22
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    Grandma22 - May 14, 2014 4:37 pm
    What I want to know is how did it stay inflated once the blower was disconnected from the bouncy house? We have one, as soon as the air blower is shut off, it begins to deflate. How the heck could that still be inflated as the picture on the PS article shows.
  7. RightHandofDoom
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    RightHandofDoom - May 14, 2014 1:07 pm
    First of all, how do you know the extent to which the unit was secured to the ground?

    Secondly, do you know what the recommended specifications are for that particular unit so as to compare it?

    Thirdly, it would seem you have some personal stake in this, as you assert the unit was "VERY SECURED" as you put it, which you would have no possible way of knowing if you were not a relative or close friend of the victims and their parents. In that case, your comment is invalid at best. If you are not close with the families of the victims, then you are just talking out of your you-know-what.

    All I know is that I've NEVER heard about this happening before, despite these units being extremely popular. It stands to reason that whoever set up the unit did, in fact, do something wrong that led to this incident. There's no other logical pathway to take until facts come out.
  8. RightHandofDoom
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    RightHandofDoom - May 14, 2014 1:01 pm
    That doesn't equal me blaming the parents by any means, by the way. However, this doesn't happen often, so as I said, logic would dictate that something was done improperly.
  9. RightHandofDoom
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    RightHandofDoom - May 14, 2014 10:33 am
    People can assert that the thing was staked properly until they're blue in the face... However, logically speaking, Occam's Razor tells us that the most likely circumstance is neglect in some way shape or form. That's just reality.
  10. Pancha
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    Pancha - May 14, 2014 10:25 am
    I will be praying for their recovery, and their parents to be calm and by their side. This sounds like a 100% horror story!
  11. theMaven
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    theMaven - May 14, 2014 6:00 am
    Those wishing for national exposure, CNN just picked it up for international feed.

    I wonder also if thermal heating may have contributed? Other than a dust devil or some sort of cyclonic wx, can't see microburst or such doing this.

    Sad; bikes, sports, skateboards, cars, being a kid is dangerous, being a parent is half skill, half luck.

    Praying for these little guys, and thanking God for my two healthy kids.
  12. MattyB
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    MattyB - May 13, 2014 10:02 pm
    Those pictures look a lot more higher than 50 ft. amazing!! hopefully the kids pull thru ok
  13. Grandma22
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    Grandma22 - May 13, 2014 9:23 pm
    People die in car accidents every day...should we take them off the roads? It was a freak accident.
  14. sandyash
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    sandyash - May 13, 2014 8:31 pm
    I get chills just looking at the photos - I could not even imagine what the parents were feeling - what seemed so harmless turned in to such a tragedy. I missed the candlelight vigil tonight - but my thoughts and prayers are certainly with these families.
  15. MsBeth
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    MsBeth - May 13, 2014 7:18 pm
    A very tragic, freak accident. Is it possible that this was caused by a microburst?
  16. Gradplanningstudent
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    Gradplanningstudent - May 13, 2014 5:50 pm
    This is an odd and unfortunate story, but to blame the parents and the owner for taking proper precautions and still having an insanely rare event like this happen is just crazy. If these should be taken off the market because of this then stop driving a car (30k deaths per year), start exercising because 300k die from obesity and related illness, and be careful what you eat in case you're 1 of 3k that die of food poisoning. You can't eliminate all risk and or blame victims.
  17. Daniel J
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    Daniel J - May 13, 2014 5:39 pm
    This tragic accident need to get national attention that all parents will be aware of this danger. This accident reminds me of beach tents that fly and are a potential killer on our beaches, that many are not aware. I pray for the safe recovery of the boys!
  18. bigtai22
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    bigtai22 - May 13, 2014 4:03 pm
    The bouncy house was VERY secured in the ground. This is an unfortunate horrible accident that involces 2 little boys are now in the hospital. Lets not forgot about their parents seeing their little boys suffer in so much pain. These little boys have long road of recovery. Instead of trying to find out who is a fault, lets prayer for these 2 little boys that they make a full recovery and the 3 little girls who watch and saw the whole thing horrible accident take place they heal seeing these little boys get thrown from the bouncy house. Instead wondering if the house was secured it was VERY SECURED.
  19. str8upjj
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    str8upjj - May 13, 2014 3:16 pm
    It wasn't even really windy yesterday. I thought it was actually dead air and also they were staked down. No ones fault here just a freak accident
  20. Rinnah
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    Rinnah - May 13, 2014 2:56 pm
    It was staked down!
  21. neverforget911
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    neverforget911 - May 13, 2014 2:47 pm
    This is very odd, I just don't get how the thing got that far up in the air with two children in it. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.
  22. sasquatch
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    sasquatch - May 13, 2014 2:25 pm
    "Didn't know about the danger"? Well, if wind can blow your house and car away, can't it send a Bouncy Bounce House get airborne much easier? This is a terrible accident for the two kids involved. I've seen a couple of Bounce Houses in faraway places. They look just like the ones here. And they must be anchored securely. Parents must protect their kids from runaway bounce houses and must make sure their kids don't put the car in gear and wind up downhill, or worse. Parents must put brain in gear instead of saying they "thought" or they "didn't know...". So often, they didn't think. Consider the possibilities, even if you're not in tornado country.
  23. NebraskaBoy
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    NebraskaBoy - May 13, 2014 2:24 pm
    Yet another example of extreme weather. Climate Change...stock up...get ready for the end timez.
  24. rtgodwi17
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    rtgodwi17 - May 13, 2014 2:11 pm
    I think they had it staked down.
  25. rtgodwi17
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    rtgodwi17 - May 13, 2014 2:10 pm
    It was a freak accident. No matter how much they make something safe there is alway that one person that will have something happen to them. There is no need to take them off the market. People are just going to have to stake it down better.
  26. doug900
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    doug900 - May 13, 2014 1:52 pm
    kenmartinsafety - "It is time these non professional units were banned and taken off the market."

    That's a little extreme, don't you think? How about the bounce houses being anchored down, with stakes, there's a thought! We used to ride on the front seat of cars back in the 60's with no seatbelts, so an accident happens, did they eliminate cars? No, they put shoulder straps in, and created seat belt laws, good idea! Use your brain!
  27. Solomon112
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    Solomon112 - May 13, 2014 10:51 am
    Thoughts and prayers!
  28. kenmartinsafety
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    kenmartinsafety - May 13, 2014 10:20 am
    It is time these non professional units were banned and taken off the market. Praying for the recovery of all involved.
  29. dmbroe
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    dmbroe - May 13, 2014 9:37 am
    Praying for the injured children & their families.


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