Bounce Castle Survivor’s ‘Eyes Were Opened in Shock’

By ABC News

Jun 4, 2014 10:41am

The 11-year-old Colorado boy who flew nearly 300 feet across a park Saturday while trapped inside a bounce house said he had “blacked out” by the time the house finally came to a stop.

“It was like I was picked up into the air and I was just thrown around a lot,” A.J. Ruder told ABC News.  “I couldn’t get a grip on anything.”

“By the time I hit the ground, I just pretty much blacked out,” he said.

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A.J. and his family were at a park in Littleton, Colorado, Saturday to cheer on his siblings playing in a lacrosse tournament.

He and a friend, 12-year-old Madison Kelsay, also there for the tournament, were playing on the bounce house slide when a sudden gust of wind slammed the slide repeatedly and violently into the ground.

Madison fell out of the bounce house almost immediately while A.J. remained trapped inside until the house came to a stop and his parents came to his rescue.

“He was emotionless, expressionless,” A.J.’s dad, Brian Ruder, told ABC News.  “His eyes were opened in shock.”

Madison’s mother, Cassie Kelsay, remembered approaching the bounce house and just seeing a body lying on the ground.

“It was just complete terror,” she said.

“I remember my mom coming up and she started crying,” said Madison.

Both A.J. and Madison escaped with minor injuries.

A.J. told ABC News he never wants to go into a bounce house again, while Madison says she will not go back in anytime soon.

The owner of the company operating the bounce house slide, Airbound, told ABC News it was properly staked to the ground at the time it took off in the air.

“We feel terrible for what happened,” the company told ABC News in a statement.  “Safety is our No. 1 concern.”

The Colorado bounce house accident came just weeks after two children were seriously injured when a gust of wind sent a bounce house they were playing in sailing in upstate New York.

In 2011, 13 people were sent to the hospital after a bouncy slide in Long Island, N.Y., flew away, also in a gust of wind.

Both the Ruder and Kelsay families said they would like to see tighter restrictions on bounce houses to prevent future accidents.

“The last thing I want to see is another kid go through this,” said Shane Kelsay, Madison’s father.

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