A waterspout touched down on Florida’s Fort Lauderdale beach amid a Memorial Day crowd on Monday, lifting an inflatable bouncy house into the air and injuring three children, police said.
The waterspout, a swirling funnel of water similar in some ways to a tornado, uprooted the bouncy house and sent it across a parking lot into a roadway, Detective DeAnna Greenlaw of the Fort Lauderdale police said on Twitter.
Three children were hurt but the extent of their injuries as well as their conditions was not immediately known, Greenlaw said in her Twitter post.
Cell phone video taken by several people on the beach at midday on Memorial Day, the unofficial start of the summer season, showed the rotating column of water come off the Atlantic Ocean and travel across the sand, CBSMiami.com reported. The video showed the waterspout make contact with the bouncy house with the children inside, tumble the enormous inflatable toy several times and then lift it 15 feet into the air, CBSMiami.com reported.
Bouncy house accidents across the United States have captured headlines in the past, particularly in instances in which the children’s play equipment is sent aloft by strong winds.
In October 2014, one New Hampshire toddler was critically injured and another seriously hurt when a wind gust lifted the bouncy house they were playing in some 30 feet off the ground, carrying it 50 feet before it crashed.
In New York, two children were seriously injured in a similar bouncy house incident in upstate New York in May 2014.
A 2012 study in the journal Pediatrics found the number of children injured in bouncy houses doubled between 2008 and 2010, when 11,300 were treated in hospital emergency rooms.
The most common injuries were broken bones, bruises and concussions.