Toddler Killed & Sister Injured After Wind Hurls Inflatable Pumpkin Patch Bounce Pad Into the Air
A Nebraska family’s fun fall trip to a local pumpkin patch turned to tragedy on Wednesday.
Caleb Acuna, 2, and his sister Gabrielle, 5, were jumping on an inflatable bounce pad at JK’s Pumpkin Patch when a strong gust of wind hurled it into the air, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release.
The gust occurred just moments after the children’s parents Edward and Berna Acuna climbed off the jack-o-lantern shaped inflatable pad.
Gabrielle, who police said went by the name Aura, was thrown nearly 30 feet into the air and broke her arm.
Little Caleb, however, got trapped in the pad as it folded in half and carried him for more than 100 feet, Raymond Fire Safety Officer Nick Monnier told the Lincoln Journal Star.
Caleb suffered a critical head injury and was rushed to the hospital. The toddler was pronounced dead on Thursday after being taken off life support, the Associated Press reported.
“It’s certainly a tragic situation,” Lancaster County Sheriff’s Capt. Tom Brookhouser said, according to the Associated Press. “The sheriff’s office has never worked an incident like this in the 28 years I’ve been here.”
JK’s Pumpkin Patch did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Josh Kadavy who owns the pumpkin patch, which had just added the bounce pad this year, posted a statement on Facebook.
“We have been advised by our attorney not to take any questions. Our thoughts, prayers & deepest condolences & sympathies are with the family at this time. It’s been an extremely emotional situation for me and my family as well as the family of the little boy. We are continuing to lift the family up in prayer. Our love and continued prayers, JKs Pumpkin Patch Family.”
The Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office has ordered an autopsy as Caleb’s death is still under investigation.
A GoFundMe was set up for the Acuna family in hopes of raising funds to cover his funeral costs. At this time, the page has raised $10,372.
Sadly, this isn’t the first inflatable structure accident. In May, 9-year-old Seth Olson was playing in a bounce house when it was blown onto a nearby highway in Southern California. He, fortunately, escaped with just minor injuries.
This incident is just one of a long line of accidents caused by inflatable attractions that have occurred around the world over the last few years.
In May 2014, a bounce house injured three children as it tumbled hundreds of feet in New York. A month later in Nevada, an inflatable slide was lifted three stories into the air and injured two people when it came down. In another tragic incident in 2016, a 7-year-old girl from England was killed when a bounce house rolled away with her inside.