A father has died and his toddler is seriously injured after the inflatable they were on at a waterpark in France was violently swept in the air and thrown metres by strong winds.
The unnamed 35-year-old man and his three-year-old daughter were trapped inside the ride at Wonderland Waterpark in southern France when it was blown 160ft.
The horror incident occurred at around 3pm yesterday in the popular resort town of Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. Despite the area being under weather warnings, the park was still open.
The town’s mayor, Alain Decanis, later announced that the dad had tragically died from his injuries while the condition of the child is still unknown.
Alain wrote on Facebook: “It is with great sadness that I learned late in the evening that the dad had not survived.” He explained that the father and daughter had been playing when the large inflatable structure was picked up by strong winds and “projected violently about fifty meters.”
He added: “The firefighters and other rescuers arrived very quickly at the scene, but the situation was already critical when the two victims were airlifted to Marseille hospitals. How could a water park that we had accepted on the municipal territory to bring joy and happiness to children turn into a machine of death that struck down an entire family?”
An investigation has been opened into the tragedy at Wonderland Park, which had only opened a few months ago.
Mayor Decanis also said: “I would like to offer my most sincere condolences to the mother present on the scene, who has shown remarkable courage, as well as to all the members of the family.”
Wonderland Park stated online that it will be closed for two days “in solidarity with the victims and the families”. It said the management of the park was “devastated.”
In August last year, 11-year-old British girl Kyra Hill died after she reportedly got into trouble at an inflatable assault course at the Liquid Leisure Windsor in Datchet, Berkshire. Her father Leonard told Sky News that she was “left to drown” and could have been saved, as he accused the operator of “neglect”.
She died less than two weeks before her own 12th birthday and her Dad said: “I am 100% sure Kyra could have been saved if Liquid Leisure and the staff had acted sooner and more urgently. This has ripped my family to pieces.”