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Three kids in US injured when strong winds lifted inflatable bounce house

Published on May 14, 2014 12:45 PM

SOUTH GLENS FALLS - Two boys in upstate New York were seriously injured after high winds lifted an inflatable bounce house 15 metres into the air - with them inside.

A 10-year-old girl who was also inside the inflatable house suffered minor scrapes.

The boys, aged 5 and 6, were taken to Albany Medical Center following the incident in South Glens Falls on Monday, the Post-Star newspaper reported.

The younger boy broke both his arms and had facial injuries, while the older one suffered head trauma, witnesses said.

One boy slammed into a parked car from about 15 metres high, while the second boy fell directly on the asphalt, according to the report.

Witness Taylor Seymour said high winds suddenly picked up the inflatable structure and spun it around like a tornado.

"It was like a horror movie," she told Post-Star. "It just kept going up and up. It cleared our building and the trees."

As witnesses ran to help the children, the inflatable house continued to float through the air, clearing a patch of woods before finally landing in fields behind a school, about three blocks away from where a parent had set up the structure.

The little girl was near the door of the inflatable house and she fell out as soon as the structure began to lift off, according to the report.

Her mother said: "My older daughters witnessed it and said it was just horrible."

"A big gust of wind just blew it right off the ground with the kids in it. It's just sickening."

The bounce house belonged to a neighbour who set it up for the kids, said the report. It was secured to the ground with stakes.

"The witnesses said it was a sudden burst of wind and it just lifted off the ground," South Glens Falls Police Patrolman David Gifford told the newspaper. "It was just a freak accident."

There was no indication of strong wind gusts in the area at the time, but Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell surmised that the house could have been taken by a "freak dust devil".

"The truth is, vortexes are all around us constantly; it takes something physicals to give them shape such as dust, snow, steam or leaves," she told the website.