A 9-year-old girl suffered serious injuries Saturday when the jumping castle she was in got caught in a high wind gust and dropped her on a neighbor’s roof.
The girl was attending a birthday party at a home in the 7900 block of Ironwood Reserve Way, near North Silverbell and West Twin Peaks roads in Marana, said Capt. Adam Goldberg, a Northwest Fire District spokesman.
She and a 11-year-old girl were in the jumping castle when a sudden, intense gust of wind — witnesses described it as similar to a microburst — sent it airborne, Goldberg said. The jumping castle was tied down, but the force of the wind broke the ties, he said.
The older girl dropped out shortly after the castle took off, but the 9-year-old was trapped inside as it flew away, he said. It flew about 110 feet before it dropped her on a neighbor’s roof, he said.
Paramedics rescued the child and took her to University Medical Center. She suffered a significant cut to her head, Goldberg said.
The seven-year-old girl was also taken to the hospital with minor injuries.
Tanya Carroll was at home when she heard a loud crash on her roof.
“I just thought it was some patio furniture or debris from the wind,” Carroll said.
When she went outside, she saw a man climbing onto her roof to reach the older girl. Another man, the girl’s father, told her to call 911.
With the girl out of the jumping castle, it again took flight.
Tonya Rerecich saw it carrying a pair of oversized boxing gloves and dragging its motor as it flew over the neighborhood.
“It was fully inflated,” she said.
After about a minute it crashed into the side of her house. Rerecich said the castle moved with such force she was grateful the little girl was out of it by then.
“It hit the side of my house so hard,” Rerecich said. “It would’ve killed her.”
Saturday was Wind gusts reached up to 30 mph in Marana Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service service reported.
Overall, the average wind speed in the Tucson area Saturday afternoon was 15 mph.
Guidelines for jumping castles vary according to manufacturer and each situation is different, said Jake Towne, owner of All About Parties, which rents jumping castles, obstacle courses and carnival games for parties.
“It’s a case-by-case situation,” he said.
All About Parties did not provide the jumping castle for the party in Marana Saturday.
Towne’s jumping castles can handle wind speeds of up to 25 mph, he said.
But even in high winds, jumping castles sometimes still can be used safely, he said.
“It depends on where they’re set up,” he said. “Some areas are shielded by the wind.”
Contact reporter Jamar Younger at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 573-4115.