The scary incident at Zillah High School happened on Wednesday afternoon during an outdoor student body event

By Joelle Goldstein
May 02, 2019 12:58 AM
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What was supposed to be a fun event at a Washington high school turned into a disaster after a bounce house was lifted by a large gust of wind and thrown across the field with multiple students inside.

Zillah High School’s Associated Student Body was putting on an outdoor event on Wednesday afternoon when the inflatable game, which the students were strapped into, went airborne, leaving five students injured, Zillah Schools confirmed on Twitter.

“Our hearts go out to the students, parents and staff of those involved,” the school said.

At approximately 2:30 p.m., a large gust of wind — believed to be somewhere around 16 MPH — blew through the area and flipped a bounce house on the football field, the Yakima Herald reports.

With the students inside, the inflatable structure was lifted 10-20 feet in the area and carried down the field, more than 240 feet away from where it had originally stood, according to the outlet.

Video footage taken by a student at the school and obtained by Yakima Herald shows the inflatable game toppled over some of the hurdles on the track as students and faculty urgently rushed toward it to help.

The wind, which is clearly heard in the clip, then picks up again and lifts the bouncy house over, violently throwing the students over the edge of its wall.

One student who spoke to KVEW-TV said the students were strapped down with harnesses for a game, which kept them inside of the inflatable structure amid the sudden liftoff.

City Fire Chief Paul Stonemetz told Yakima Herald that Zillah Police Department and Fire Department responded to the scene shortly after the incident and treated multiple students, including one who received CPR and shock treatment.

That student, who was in critical condition, was then airlifted to Astria Regional Medical Center in Yakima, while the four others, who suffered injuries to their knee, ankle, ribs, and head, were transported to Virginia Mason Memorial hospital.

Because of their ages, Stonemetz said the victims’ names would not be released.

Representatives at Zillah Fire Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

In recent years there have been a number of tragic incidents involving bounce houses.

In a 2012 study, “Pediatric Inflatable Bouncer-Related Injuries in the United States, 1990-2010”, researchers determined that the number of bounce house injuries were on the rise, in part due to improper anchoring.

“Strong winds and poor anchoring can result in either the sets collapsing or becoming airborne, which can cause series – sometimes fatal – accidents,” the report analysis reads. “Although these bounce houses are manufactured with safety in mind, the installations are not always inspected and well-regulated.”

At this time, it is unclear whether or not the bounce house at the high school was anchored to the ground. Authorities are currently looking into the matter, Stonemetz told Yakima Herald.