The Short of It
A bounce house was blown 500 feet while a little girl was inside. She later died from her injuries.
Seven-year-old Summer Grant was playing in an inflatable Toy Story bounce house at an Easter Fair in England over the weekend, when a strong gust of wind blew the castle 500 feet across Harlow Town Park with her still inside.
Summer's younger sister and her father, who chased after the house as it sailed over trailers and caravans, both watched in horror as the castle finally crashed to the ground. Summer sustained multiple injuries, and sadly, she later died at a nearby hospital.
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"Words just can't explain how I am feeling right now," said Summer's mom, Cara Blackie, in a statement released by Essex Police. "Life is just truly cruel."
"Summer was a bright, beautiful, and most loving little girl," added her dad Lee Grant. "It is so unfair that you have been taken; it just doesn't make sense. I never thought our beautiful angel would be taken away from us or that we would outlive her."
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Even worse: people are now questioning whether this freak accident could actually have been avoidable. Why, for example, wasn't the bounce house closed in light of the 50 mph winds that were forecasted, when the other inflatable operators didn't even open their attractions at the fair that day?
Police are now investigating the incident and urging any attendees with video to come forward. In the meantime, a man and woman—thought to be from the family-run bounce house operation—have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.
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In light of the fact that there was another incident last May—in the very same park!—where a bounce house collapsed and left several children with injuries, Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for the town, is asking for an "urgent inquiry" into whether bouncy castles "should be banned from Harlow town fairs, until we can be sure that they are completely safe, so such a horrific tragedy never happens again."
Bunches of flowers, dozens of teddy bears, and other tributes have been left at the entrance to the park where Summer was injured. A crowdfunding page that was set up by a friend has received 350 donations and has already beaten its £5,000 ($7,200) target.
Summer's uncle, Shawn Grant, said the messages and items left in her memory were "important for the family."
"On social media, the messages we've received, it's just been wonderful; it really has," he told BBC News. "I just want to say, on behalf of the family, thank you so much for all the flowers, gifts, donations towards the funeral costs."