Girl (7) killed after jumping castle is blown away in ‘freak accident’

By Samantha Luiz
29 March 2016

The devastated family of a seven-year-old girl who tragically died when the jumping castle she was playing on was blown away, have paid an emotional tribute their "beautiful angel."

The devastated family of a seven-year-old girl who tragically died when the jumping castle she was playing on was blown away, have paid an emotional tribute their "beautiful angel".

Summer Grant, from Norwich in England, died after strong winds reportedly flung the inflatable structure into the air at a fun fair park this past weekend.

“It was a freak accident, the thing just flew straight up over the caravans, flipped and just kept on going down the park," a fairground worker told the Daily Mirror.

"It must have been blown more than 400 metres at least. We thought it was never going to stop.”

A post-mortem revealed that the young girl succumbed to multiple injuries.

“Words just can’t explain how I am feeling right now, life is just truly cruel,” said Summer's distraught mother Cara Blackie (26).

"Summer was a bright beautiful and most loving girl, it is so unfair that you have been taken, it just doesn’t make sense. I’m truly heartbroken."

Read more: Fire safety warning for children’s costumes

Summer's father, Lee (30), added that he never thought "our beautiful angel would be taken away from us or that we would outlive her."

“She was the most happy, polite and beautiful girl in the world. I still can’t come to terms she’s not here.

“We all love you so so much, you will always be with us; love you to the moon and back, all our love daddy, mummy and family xxxx.”

According to The Guardian, a 27-year-old man and 24-year-old woman have been released on bail after they were arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.

In 2012, a five-year-old boy from Joburg was killed after he was shocked by a jumping castle motor at a restaurant on the banks of the Vaal River.

Ruan Schlebusch's family later learned that legally a jumping castle’s motor must be enclosed by a cover, which it had not been at Stonehaven on Vaal.

“I’d never even thought of that," his mother Yolandi Enslin told YOU at the time. "The castle we had in our garden didn’t have a covered motor either. It’s just not something you think about.”

Jumping castle safety

According to Naomi Eady from the Jolly Jump Castles Durbanville Agency, such incidents are uncommon as they can be easily avoided.

"A good [jumping castle] operator knows that it should be properly secured," says Naomi, adding that long stakes are used to drive the structure into the ground before being securely tied with rope. Sandbags weighing 20kg are also used to keep the jumping castle fixed to the ground.

"Strong winds shouldn't be too much of a factor as long as the jumping castle is secured properly.

"You might reconsider if there's a stormy weather. But a little drizzle is okay as long as the motor is covered."

Parents should also make sure the jumping castle is set up on level ground.

"If it's set up on a ground that slants, kids are more likely to land on the ground."

Also, if you're expecting a large group of kids, Naomi advises hiring a good-quality bouncy obstacle course instead of the regular castle.

She explains that this type better accommodates larger groups, thus preventing kids bumping against each other.

More safety tips:

  • There should be adult supervision at all times.
  • Make sure the jumping castle is appropriate for the age group -- ask the company you're hiring from if uncertain.
  • If you don't have a fairly big jumping castle, limit the number of kids at a time.
  • No sharp objects or shoes should be allowed on the castle.
  • Make sure the jumping castle is in good condition when it is delivered. Raise concern, for example, if you see any wires sticking out.
  • Take care to stick to the precautions suggested by the hiring company.

Sources: theguardian.com, mirror.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk

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