At the Harlow Town Park in Essex, England, last week, a bespangled “fun fair” sign advertised a merry-go-round, Ferris wheel and carnival games.
On Sunday, the poster was covered by flowers and an Easter basket. Clouds hung overhead, reminiscent of the weather that had made the fairgrounds a site of tragedy the day before.
A card stuck inside a bouquet read: “God has taken a beautiful girl for his angel. RIP Princess.”
The angel was Summer Grant, a seven-year-old who was playing in a “Toy Story” bouncy castle when a strong gust of wind swept up the inflatable structure, carrying her over trailers and caravans before landing down a hill nearly one mile away, the Associated Press and Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Summer suffered several serious injuries and died on Saturday.
A 24-year-old woman and 27-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter by gross negligence in connection to the incident, according to the BBC.
“It was a sudden gust,” Ray Smith, a representative of the Showmans Guild of Great Britain, told the BBC. “Had it been a consistent wind they would have closed down all the inflatables.”
Smith said he was confident that the Thurston family, who organizes the annual fair, had properly staked out the inflatables.
Local police are investigating the incident, and have urged fairgoers to release any video that they have from the event. One piece of recorded footage shows police rushing across the park, with the howling wind audible.
Robert Halfon, the Conservative MP for Harlow, implored authorities to consider a ban on bouncy castles. The town was also the site of a bouncy castle mishap last year, when an inflatable collapsed on children who were playing on it in the same park.
“I will be asking the relevant authorities to start an urgent inquiry as to how this tragedy happened,” Halfon wrote on Facebook, “and to consider whether bouncy castles such as this should be banned from Harlow Town fairs, until we can be sure that they are completely safe, so such a horrific tragedy never happens again.”
(c) 2016, The Washington Post · Yanan Wang