Girl (8) dies after falling out of bouncy castle

Mon, May 16, 2011, 01:00

AN EIGHT-year-old girl who had just celebrated her First Communion lost her life on Saturday afternoon after suffering head injuries when she fell out of a bouncy castle in the garden of her home.

The young girl has been named as Amy Byrne. She was among a group of 15 children who made their First Communion at St Gobnait’s Church, in Kilgobinet parish in Dungarvan, Co Waterford, on Saturday morning.

Amy was playing in a bouncy castle in the garden of her home in Cul na Smear, Colligan, at about 6pm when the wind caught the inflatable device, leading her to fall from it and receive serious head injuries. The bouncy castle was bought earlier this week in Waterford.

She was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later. Nobody else was injured in the incident.

Garda Insp Paul Heffernan headed up the investigation which began yesterday and will continue today. The Garda press office last night described the death and its circumstances as “a tragic accident”, while it would “not be going into further specifics”.

Parish priest Fr Michael Kennedy, who concelebrated the Communion Mass, said it was difficult to absorb the enormity of the loss suffered by the child’s parents. “No one can believe the scale of the tragedy. Everyone is in shock at how such a joyous and happy day could turn to tragedy so quickly.”

Local TD Paudie Coffey said: “There’s no explanation when a freak accident like this happens. It is such a sad loss on such a special day . . . The thoughts and prayers of the whole constituency are with the family,”

Cllr Damien Geoghegan said a “pall of gloom” descended over Waterford yesterday when news broke of the child’s death.

“Everyone here is stunned by it. It is hard to even comprehend what the family are going through at this time. The Holy Communion is such a big day in a child’s life and bouncy castles and playing is such a part of it. It is unbelievable.”

A postmortem was carried out on the girl yesterday at Waterford Regional Hospital.

Her parents were being comforted by relatives. A neighbour and relative of the bereaved family, Mary Byrne, said: “It’s just unbelievable. It’s awful to see this happen to them.”