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MP in call for ban on bouncy castles after girl's death

Ban: Robert Halfon MP
Ban: Robert Halfon MP

By Sam Russell

A three-year-old girl died after she was thrown from an inflatable trampoline while at the beach with her mother.

Norfolk Police said witnesses reported hearing a "loud bang" before the inflatable "apparently burst" at Gorleston-on-Sea on Sunday morning.

The girl, who has not been named by police, later died in hospital.

She was visiting the area with her family from Suffolk.

Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, Essex - where seven-year-old Summer Grant was killed when a bouncy castle blew free from its moorings in 2016 - wants politicians to consider a temporary ban on inflatables in public spaces.

His request for an urgent question in the House of Commons was not granted.

Mr Halfon said he was "disappointed" but would table a Commons motion about it.

He said: "There should be a temporary ban on bouncy castles in public areas until we can ensure they are safe.

"You cannot risk a tragedy like this happening again."

Downing Street described the incident as a "terrible accident".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "It is a terrible accident and a tragic loss of life.

"HSE are looking into it, they are the right people to do so. We need to wait for that investigation to be completed."

Superintendent Roger Wiltshire of Norfolk Police said the incident was "just unimaginable".

"I'm a dad myself and you just can't imagine what they would be going through," he said.

"You come to a seaside town like Great Yarmouth and Gorleston for a day out don't you, and as a dad, you know, we've spent many hours standing by a bouncy castle watching the kids jump up and down."

He said the attraction was licensed, and the local authority was conducting checks on others following the incident.

Tributes including teddy bears and bunches of flowers have been piling up against a metal perimeter fence encircling an area of the beach where the deflated inflatable was still in place yesterday.

One tribute read: "Taken too soon. Thinking of all your family. Such a sad loss. Sleep tight angel."

A second said: "Rest in paradise little one X."

A Home Office post-mortem examination was due to take place yesterday to determine the cause of the girl's death.

It is believed a lifeguard carried out CPR at the scene for around 15 minutes before paramedics arrived.

The girl was then taken to the James Paget Hospital in a "serious condition" but she later died.

Kara Longshaw, who witnessed the incident, said: "I have just seen the most horrific thing in my life. A bouncy castle exploded at the beach and the child on it was catapulted about 20ft into the air. Please do not allow your children on a bouncy castle in this heat."

The incident is the latest in which a fun day out with giant inflatables has turned to tragedy.

Married fairground workers William Thurston and Shelby Thurston - who were found responsible for the "entirely preventable" death of a seven-year-old girl who was blown away in a bouncy castle they did not properly secure - were imprisoned for three years in June.

Summer Grant died after a gust of wind elevated the inflatable from its moorings and hurled it cartwheeling 300 metres down a hill at an Easter fair in Harlow.

In 2006 two women, Elizabeth Anne Collings (68) and Claire Furmedge (38), died and 27 people were injured when an inflatable artwork blew away in Chester-le-Street, Co Durham.

In May 2010, an inquest jury ruled the deaths were accidental.

Belfast Telegraph


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