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Girl injured when bounce house carried away by waterspout released from hospital

Shamoya Ferguson, 6, says she'll stay away from bounce houses

Shamoya Ferguson is all smiles as she leaves Broward Health Medical Center, where she was held overnight for observation after being thrown out of a bounce house that was carried away by a waterspout.
Shamoya Ferguson is all smiles as she leaves Broward Health Medical Center, where she was held overnight for observation after being thrown out of a bounce house that was carried away by a waterspout. (Neki Mohan/Local 10 News)

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The last of three children who were injured after they were thrown out of a bounce house by a waterspout in Fort Lauderdale was released from a hospital Tuesday.

Wearing a shirt with an ice cream cone on the front and holding her dolls, Shamoya Ferguson walked out of Broward Health Medical Center ready to answer questions about her ordeal.

"I was thinking that I was about to die," the 6-year-old girl told reporters.

Shamoya and two other children were inside a bounce house on Fort Lauderdale Beach when a waterspout lifted the bounce house into the air and toppled it over Monday afternoon.

A witness told Local 10 News she was on the beach when she saw the bounce house in the air and "little kids start flying out, hitting the ground."

Another witness said she saw the bounce house get as high as the palm trees.

"Next thing you know you see kids flying out of the bounce house," she said.

Fort Lauderdale police Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw said the bounce house was provided as part of a city-sponsored Memorial Day event and was properly secured.

The bounce house was provided by All Star Events, she said.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families affected by this freak occurrence," All Star Events said in a statement. "We are glad to learn that there were no serious injuries and that the three children affected have already been released from the hospital. We were as surprised as anyone by the events occurring yesterday during Memorial Day festivities on Fort Lauderdale Beach. It still seems difficult to comprehend how merely yards away blankets and tables were left undisturbed. With safety as our top priority, we are cooperating with the city and law enforcement to see what, if anything, might be done to prevent such an incident in the future."

City Manager Lee Feldman said in a statement Tuesday that what happened "was a freak act of nature that no one could have prepared for or predicted. The change in weather was sudden and severe."

Feldman said the city's police and paramedics "responded quickly and appropriately to minimize injuries and damage."

"While our thoughts and prayers remain with the injured children and their families for a speedy recovery, we are grateful that this act of God did not cause any more serious harm given the large number of people who were enjoying the beach on Memorial Day," Feldman said. "The city has already put the bounce house vendor, All Star Events, on notice of their responsibility as we continue to investigate the incident."

A second bounce house was also carried away by the waterspout, but it was unoccupied, Greenlaw said.

Shamoya said she would return to the beach, but she said she's done with bounce houses.

"No more bounce house," she said.

Two other children were treated for minor fractures and released later the same day. Shamoya's stepbrother, A.J. Dent, 11, suffered a bruised left arm.

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