A nine-year-old boy has been seriously injured after the inflatable zorb ball he was playing in was carried so high into the air by “a freak gust of wind” that eyewitnesses described it gliding over some trees.
The child was inside the transparent plastic orb, floating on a pool of water at an outdoor festival in Southport, Merseyside, when the ball suddenly took off into the air.
It landed nearby shortly afterwards. The boy sustained significant injuries and was taken to hospital from Victoria Park by air ambulance.
A witness told the Liverpool Echo: “It was quite breezy then all of a sudden there was a gust of wind. It [the inflatable ball] went over the trees and we thought it was a balloon at first before we realised it was one of the inflatables with a child inside.”
Another witness said: “There was a gust of wind, the inflatable zorb took off from the water pool with the boy inside. The zorb then landed on a wheelie bin, the zorb popped on impact, leaving the boy on the ground.”
They added: “Onlookers rushed over to help, the PA put an announcement out for security and St Johns [Ambulance] to attend. They were on the scene within a minute or so. They were brilliant.”
On an otherwise still day, a “freak gust of wind” may have been responsible for the balls taking off into the air, the Echo reported.
Joanne Murray, who was at the festival with her husband, said: “I can’t believe I’ve just witnessed that, I witnessed it with my own eyes, there was a kid in that ball.”
Police are appealing for witnesses who captured images or video of the incident, which took place at about 2pm.
In a statement, Merseyside police said: “A second zorb ball containing another child was also raised at the same time, but thankfully this child was unharmed.”
A spokesperson for Sefton council said: “Following the incident a full health and safety inspection has been undertaken at the Southport Food and Drink festival and the event remains open to the public.
“Our thoughts are with those involved in the accident and we wish them a full recovery.”
Police said anyone with information can direct message @MerPolCC or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 quoting reference 596.
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