An 'exploding' bouncy castle launched two young girls 25ft into the air and onto metal tram tracks.
What had started as a fun day out ended in a nightmare for the children and their families after the giant inflatable tore off its moorings and flew up “as high as a lamppost”.
Of the five youngsters playing on the attraction at the time of the incident, three escaped unharmed but three-year-old Anna and Vike, four, suffered horrendous injuries from their landing.
Panic ensued for witnesses in the Russian city of Barnaul as the children were hurled into the air and over a 6ft metal fence onto tram tracks.
Anna, aged three, suffered concussion and a spinal fracture, and is in a grave condition.
Meanwhile four-year-old Vika has a skull fracture, and wounds to her lungs and abdomen.
She landed some 15ft from the bust bouncy castle.
She is in an extremely grave condition.
Adults rushed to secure the castle and check that no children were trapped inside.
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Investigators in the Siberia region are probing the cause of the accident close to a shopping mall, and initially stated that it was caused by strong winds.
However, witnesses denied there were winds and witnesses claimed there was the “sound of an explosion” or a loud burst.
One theory was that it had been pumped up too strongly, and there were claims it was not properly secured.
Anastasia Dolmatova said: “What wind? I work one bus stop away from this place, but even we heard the bang.”
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She called on investigators to “accurately check the cause”.
“Some of the ropes were not secured,” said one local report.
“And in violation of all the requirements, the bouncy castle had been tied to the fence.”
The bouncy castle had no protective underlay, and was rubbing against the tarmac, possibly causing the burst, said a witness.
The Russian Investigative Committee has opened a criminal case into the incident.
Reports say the owners of the attraction have been established.
Local MP Sergey Pisarev said: “No special mounts were used, the attraction was pumped, it heated up, and rose into the air.”
He complained there were no proper safety checks on bouncy castles.
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