Response to inflatable catastrophe far cry from usual seafront scenes at Gorleston beach

PUBLISHED: 17:42 01 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:50 04 July 2018

Police cordon around the Bounce About play area at Gorleston beach.

Police cordon around the Bounce About play area at Gorleston beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

A heavy police presence and a rush of emergency services at Gorleston beach today was a far cry from the usual buzz of the spot, which attracts families from across the region.

Police cordon around the Bounce About play area at Gorleston beach.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYPolice cordon around the Bounce About play area at Gorleston beach. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

With three miles of sandy beach and a backdrop of grassy cliffs, it is a draw for many who want to soak up the sun, or pick up an ice cream or bag of chips from the surrounding shops.

It is not unusual to spot bodyboarders in the water or enthusiasts taking advantage of the large model yacht pond.

On Wednesday thousands of people descended on the sands to be extras in Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle’s Beatles-based film.

And with temperatures in the 20s today the beach was again packed with families enjoying the sun when catastrophe struck.

Gorleston beach. Picture: Nick ButcherGorleston beach. Picture: Nick Butcher

MORE: Child killed after being thrown from bouncy castle on Gorleston beach

Police were called to the beach at around 11.15am today following reports a child had been thrown from a bouncy castle. The East of England Ambulance service received more than a dozen calls in relation to the incident.

The young girl was taken to the James Paget Hospital but later died.

At the beach a police cordon is in place around the fencing that surrounds the ‘Bounce About’ children’s area. No one is being permitted to use any of the facilities.

MORE: Beach tragedy comes just two weeks after couple jailed for bouncy castle death of Summer Grant

One witness reported seeing the bouncy castle “explode” and another said the victim was “catapulted” into the air. Both described what they saw as “horrific”.

A Gorleston resident, who preferred not to be named, said: “I didn’t see what happened but heard a loud bang, and then saw a commotion and people running away. Whatever happened it looks like something very sad.”

Emma Flaxman-Taylor, Great Yarmouth Borough councillor for the Gorleston ward, said: “At this moment in time all I can do is express my condolences to the girl’s family.”

Brandon Lewis, Conservative MP for Great Yarmouth, tweeted: “Absolutely tragic, thoughts are with family & friends, just so sad.”

A joint investigation between the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local authority and police has been launched to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.

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