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A man has died and his three-and-a-half year old daughter was seriously injured when an inflatable slide at a waterpark was blown away by strong winds.
The incident occurred on Sunday at Wonderland Waterpark in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume, France. According to eyewitnesses, the inflatable slide was blown 50 meters by a powerful gust of wind.
Trapped inside the 20 metre long slide were the 35-year-old father and his baby daughter, as it took flight.
Firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene where they found the pair in cardiac arrest.
After 30 minutes they were able to resuscitate them through CPR, before flying them to hospital by helicopter.
Captain Fabrice Bernard led the rescue operation and told reporters: “Medical care was provided at the scene. We performed resuscitation.”
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Tragically the father did not survive his injuries, while his daughter remains in a serious condition.
An eyewitness described in vivid detail the terrifying events as they unfolded before shocked onlookers.
Marguerite, who was with her three-year-old great-grandaughter, told the French news outlet RMC: “All of a sudden, in a gust of wind, the slide blew away.
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“It went flying and then it crashed. Everyone was screaming.
“I saw the man sprawled out on the ground who we couldn’t resuscitate, and then I heard that there was a little girl next to him. It was hard. It hurt.”
The town’s local mayor offered his heartfelt condolences to the grieving family of the dead father.
In a post on his Facebook site, he wrote: “This evening I would like to offer my most sincere condolences to the mother present at the scene, who showed remarkable courage, and to all the members of the family.”
He added: “I refused to communicate earlier on this subject out of decency towards the victims of this tragedy.”
The Var region, where the waterpark is located, was under a red alert for forest fires due to strong winds on Sunday.
According to Météo France, the wind was blowing at around 55 km/h in the western part of the region.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY MARIA ORTEGA
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