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Separate bounce house mishaps leave multiple children hurt in Arizona

Posted at 8:53 AM, May 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-21 11:54:00-04

MESA, AZ — Two separate incidents involving bounce houses left at least six kids hurt, just days apart. Strong winds were to blame for both of them.

A party celebrating the end of the school year in Mesa, took a dangerous turn Thursday.

"We didn't come and in the end, it turned out to be a blessing. We're just praying for the people who did get injured,” said Scott Moore, who lives in Trovita Estates, a neighborhood in Mesa.

The Moore’s came over to the community park after hearing from neighbors that a bounce house was swept several feet in the air by a strong gust of wind. The Mesa Fire and Medical Department say four children, ages five to eleven, were taken to a hospital.

"It at least makes you think about it and check things a lot more before you jump into anything. As a parent you're always learning,” said Moore.

Just a few days earlier, a bounce house at a birthday party in Yavapai County left two young cousins in the hospital.

A close family friend, who was there at the time, recounts those moments with ABC15. "I heard that scream and I turn and you could still see the dirt and the microburst, you know, carrying the house away,” said Shannon Keefer.

Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office says a dust devil picked the bounce house 25 feet into the air and launched it over a fence into the neighbor’s property. It landed 75 yards from where it was originally.

“They just both laid there kind of lifeless and everything goes through your mind, I mean, the worst case scenario. You think, are they going to live or are they okay? Are they alive right now? Are they breathing?” said Keefer.

Layla, who is 6 years old, is now in a wheelchair suffering from broken bones. Arlene, who is 7 years old, suffered severe neck and back injuries. The entire situation is taking a toll on the family.

"Their mothers... not only are they having to deal with their daughters that are in somewhat still critical condition, you know, they work full time and are no longer able to do that now,” added Keefer.

The bounce house was apparently weighted down with 50-pound sand bags and thick anchors.

Keefer is just thankful the girls are alive. “They’re in pain and they're confused and they're upset, but they won't stop asking about each other,” she added.

The girl’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help in their recovery. The funds will be split evenly.