Father dies after freak fun park accident with daughter, 4, in France

An inflatable ‘bouncy castle’-type structure was picked up by a strong wind and flew around 50 metres away, carrying the pair inside

A red Urgences emergency hospital sign in French
The man and his daughter were airlifted to hospital but the 35-year-old father later died from his injuries
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An inquiry has been opened after a 35-year-old father died this weekend in a freak water fun park accident involving an inflatable in southeast France.

The Draguignan (Var, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur) prosecutor opened the inquiry into involuntary injury and homicide today (Monday, July 31) after the accident on July 30.

The incident took place at the Wonderland water park in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. An inflatable ‘bouncy castle’-type structure was picked up by a ‘freak’ 55km/h wind and flew around 50 metres away, carrying the man and his four-year-old daughter, who were both inside.

Accident au parc Wonderland: le maire de Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume annonce la mort de l'un des blesséshttps://t.co/bCpYBqohi0 pic.twitter.com/9pJMjpP6q5

— BFMTV (@BFMTV) July 31, 2023

Both were severely injured and stopped breathing, but were resuscitated on-site by medical teams. Both were then taken to hospital by emergency helicopter. The man later succumbed to his injuries. The four-year-old is still in critical condition.

The village mayor, Alain Decanis, wrote on Facebook yesterday: “It is with much sadness that I learned late this evening that the dad did not survive. My sincere condolences to the mum who was there, who showed remarkable courage, as well as all the other members of the family.”

He said that he quickly saw the “gravity of the situation” when he visited the park yesterday, and asked: “How could a water park, which we accepted here to bring joy and happiness to children, have transformed into an engine of death that has destroyed an entire family?”

The water park will be closed for two days as a “mark of solidarity for the victims and the families” affected.

Wonderland Park has said that the inflatable was carried away in an unexpected and devastating ‘freak’ tornado wind. A statement from the director said: “We are devastated.”

Another Wonderland Park in the department, currently set up in Rocbaron, has been closed as a precautionary measure by the local mairie while the inquiry takes place in Saint-Maximin.

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