Officials: 7 hurt in Brevard when wind picks up inflatable rides

Published 8:22 pm Monday, March 27, 2023

BREVARD (AP) — At least seven people were hurt when wind gusts picked up two inflatable rides, throwing children from the structures and striking several people who were nearby as they flew across a North Carolina sports complex during a little league opening day, officials said.

Firefighters and EMS workers were called to the City/County Sports Complex around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, the Brevard Fire Department said in a news release. Two large inflatable rides were blown across the complex, one came to rest about 150 feet from where it had been anchored and the other stopped about 450 feet away, the fire department said.

When rescuers arrived, there were four people injured, and they found three more as they treated the crowd, the department said. Three of the injured were taken to a hospital with injuries that weren’t considered critical and a fourth was taken to a hospital as a precaution. There were reports that others who were injured went to hospitals.

Saturday was opening day for the Transylvania Little League, and there were about 1,500 people watching and participating in games, the fire department said. Several off-duty firefighters, paramedics, rescuers and law enforcement officers who were at the fields with their families helped care for those in need.

Children were thrown from the structures when they went airborne and several other people in the area were struck too, League Safety Officer Matthew Chase Owen said in a news release. None of the injuries appear to be life-threatening or life-altering, but some injuries would be considered serious, he said.

The league’s board of directors has been reaching out to the injured to ensure their needs are met, Owen said.

“We are deeply saddened by this event and want to wish every injured person a speedy and full recovery,” he said. “We would also like to thank all of the volunteers who assisted during this event, we are very grateful to everyone who stepped up and assisted.”

The state Department of Labor’s Elevator and Amusement Device Bureau is investigating, but cannot provide further information since it remains an open investigation, department spokesperson Erin Wilson said in an email.