June 5, 2011— -- Strong winds lifted three bounce houses with children playing inside into the air and tumbled them along the ground at a youth soccer tournament in Oceanside, N.Y., injuring 13 children.
"It was the craziest thing you ever saw," parent Vinny Garone told ABC television station WABC-TV in New York. "The next inflatable that two of my kids were in started bouncing and sliding. I tried to catch it, and it just flattened me."
The three bounce houses were part of the entertainment set up for children at the Oceanside United Soccer Club's tournament Saturday at Oceanside School 9.
There were several children inside the houses when suddenly, a gust of wind picked up the houses and sent them tumbling across the schoolyard, witnesses told WABC-TV.
"We were on the field when we saw it," Marcus Unger said. "We heard people screaming and we turned around, and the big bouncy house was flying around. And all these people were running away, scared. It looked like there were a lot of people hurt."
Several people outside the bounce houses were hit as they rolled along the ground.
Besides the 13 children in the bounce houses, two people were injured by the tumbling inflatable attractions.
Even though none of the injuries was serious, parents told WABC-TV the day was ruined.
"It's a big shame that it worked out this way, because the children really do enjoy it," parent Carol Cola said. "And it's the last game, it's a chance to tell you coaches how great they were, to tell your kids how great they played. It's a beautiful day, and it just got destroyed."
There has been growing concern about the safety of bounce houses, as they have become more popular and there have been more accidents.
In Pima County, Ariz., there were two incidents earlier this year when bounce houses were lifted into the air with children in them.
Two young girls were in a bounce house that blew over a fence and onto a roof on Feb. 19. One of the girls was seriously hurt and the other suffered minor injuries.
On April 2, a dust devil lifted a jumping castle containing two children approximately 15 feet into the air and blew it across three lanes of traffic before it landed in the median of a busy highway in Tucson, Ariz.
Emergency teams from the Tucson fire department were called to rescue the boy and girl who were in the jumping castle at the time.
Both children, who were said to be between the ages of 7 and 10, were taken to a hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.