Three young children were injured, two seriously, after an inflatable bounce house was launched into the air on Monday afternoon in South Glens Falls, NY. According to witnesses, the bounce house was flown approximately 50 to 100 feet high after what may have been a dust devil or freak gust of wind launched the inflatable structure.
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 fell out, according to witnesses.
“It was like a horror movie,” she said. “It just kept going up and up. It cleared our building and the trees.”
Temperatures were in the upper 80's on Monday in Glens Falls. According to Wikipedia, dust devils form when hot air near the surface rises quickly through a small pocket of cooler, low- pressure air above it. If conditions are just right, the air may begin to rotate. As the air rapidly rises, the column of hot air is stretched vertically, thereby moving mass closer to the axis of rotation, which causes intensification of the spinning effect by conservation of angular momentum.
A local newspaper, The Post-Star, originally broke the news which immediately went national and was picked up by several large news networks.
A neighbor said the younger boy suffered two broken arms and facial injuries, while the older boy suffered a serious head injury and was in a medically induced coma. Both were listed in stable condition at Albany Medical Center.
Little Tykes, the company that made the bounce house, issued a statement saying it will investigate the incident.