A 9-year-old girl died Friday in Nevada after the bounce house she was playing in was lifted 10 feet by strong wind into power lines.
According to the Washoe County Sheriff's Department, dispatchers received a call around 4 p.m. on July 14 that a bounce house with three children inside had been lifted by wind onto overhead power lines in a Reno neighborhood. The local utility immediately cut power to the area, and sheriff's deputies responded along with the fire department.
The children were rescued with a hook and ladder fire truck, sheriff's department spokesman Bob Harmon told BuzzFeed News, and two were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Lizzy was then taken to a hospital.
On Friday, Lizzy's family announced she had died from her injuries, adding that they would be donating her organs to help as many as 80 other children.
The donation was marked by an "honor walk" of hundreds of people at Renown Regional Medical Center, where police, firefighters, friends, family, and hospital staff lined the hallway as her body was taken to an operating room, the Reno Gazette Journal reported.
In a statement, the girl's family remembered her for her "generous spirit" and her commitment to her church and community. Multiple family members have served as first responders or in the military, and Lizzy's family said she was extremely patriotic.
"Our precious Lizzy was a beautiful, intelligent, silly, vibrant little girl who was full of life. She was a daughter, granddaughter, sister, cousin, teammate, and beloved friend," her family said. "She was an active volunteer in the local community where she enjoyed feeding the homeless, shopping with the Sheriff, building care packages for local soldiers deployed overseas, and providing school supplies to less-fortunate children in the area."
Authorities are continuing to investigate the incident, but, "there is no evidence at this time to suggest any amount of negligence by the family," Harmon said.
Injuries related to bounce houses have been increasing in recent years, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Pediatrics. Typically, injuries are broken bones or sprains, but wind-related events have also had devastating results.
In 2018, a 2-year-old in Nebraska died after a bounce house was torn from its moorings by wind and thrown 20 feet. In 2016, a 7-year-old girl died after playing in a bounce house that was struck by a gust of wind in the UK.
John Knox, a geography professor with the University of Georgia, has been tracking similar incidents as part of his research on weather and climate. Between 2000 and May 2017, he told BuzzFeed News he's counted 11 deaths due to bounce houses and weather, as well as 316 injuries.
Knox added it doesn't take severe winds for a bounce house to be dangerous.
"Depending on the type of anchoring used, bounce houses can go airborne in winds far below severe levels," he told BuzzFeed News. "People should be careful using bounce houses even in merely 'breezy' conditions, even without storms present or nearby."