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Girl dies after bouncy castle blown away

Police cordon in park
Image caption

A police cordon remains in place around part of the park

A seven-year-old girl has died after the bouncy castle she was playing on was blown away in strong winds.

A 24-year-old woman and a 27-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence.

Paramedics were called to Harlow Town Park in Essex shortly after 16:00 GMT on Saturday, where the third day of an event organised by Thurston fun fairs was taking place.

The girl, from Norwich, was taken to hospital where she later died.

Media captionAmateur footage shows emergency services at the scene

East of England Ambulance Service said the girl had suffered serious injuries when the inflatable was blown “some distance”. She was treated by ambulance crews and the Essex and Herts Air Ambulance before being taken to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow.

A spokesman for the ambulance service said: “Our thoughts are with the friends and family involved on this sad day.”

The Health and Safety Executive said it was assisting police with its investigation.

Floral tributes have been left at the gates of the park, where a section remains cordoned off by police.


Image caption

Easter tributes have been left at the park

It’s a sombre scene within the park.

Police stand guard around the inflatable which is at the centre of the investigation.

Around 20 caravans and trailers and a couple of fairground rides remain here, but they are silent.

A bouquet with an Easter bunny inside lays at the park’s entrance, remembering the girl who died from the shocking events of Saturday.


Police would like to speak to anybody who has any information or who witnessed the incident.

Det Insp Daniel Stoten, of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, said: “This is a very tragic incident where a young girl has lost her life. My deepest sympathies go out to her family.

Image caption

Rides were at the park for an Easter fun fair

“We are trying to establish the circumstances surrounding how the girl came to be injured and I urge anyone who was at the event and witnessed the incident to contact me.”

Officers have asked anyone who captured the incident on camera to get in touch.

The arrested pair, from Cambridgeshire, are understood to be from the family-run bouncy castle firm.

Image caption

Flowers have been left by the gates of the park, where a fun fair was being held

Last year a bouncy castle collapsed while children were playing on it during a funfair in the park.

Harlow Council officers visited the site following the incident last May and suggested a number of health and safety improvements, including better stewarding of the event.

It was reported at the time that three children had to be treated by paramedics when the inflatable castle collapsed on them.

After news of Saturday’s tragedy broke, Conservative MP for Harlow Robert Halfon tweeted: “My thoughts and heart go to family.”

Image caption

Deflated inflatables can be seen inside the police cordon

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