The safety of the bouncy castle that was blown up at the Mislata Christmas Fair on January 4, causing the death of Vera, 4 years old, and Cayetana, 8, and wounding several more children, is increasingly questioned as the investigation of the Homicide group of the National Police advances. In the second statement delivered to the judge, of which she has revealed today Levante-EMV, a newspaper that belongs to the same group as this newspaper, all anomalies detected in that attraction and in the rest of the fairgroundsthe Homicide agents include an exhaustive report on the castle, its instructions, the construction materials and, above all, the anchor points that leave the statement of the showman and his private engineer trembling.
Thus, the owner of the factory that created the Humor Amarillo La Selva and his engineer explained to the Homicide agents that this particular installation came from equipped with 30 anchor points, consisting of 30 rings with specific straps to support the necessary weights. The calculation of anchor points, they clarify, is carried out in an oversized way, specifically by 177.77% with respect to the maximum security that the law and common sense would require, precisely to guarantee anomalous climatic situations like the one that occurred that afternoon, with gusts of wind that Aemet estimates at more than 74 kilometers per hour.
As the Homicide group recalls from the first interview with the manufacturer, he already told them over the phone that, obviously, all the lashing points were necessary, since if not, they would not be added to the attraction.
Thus, the two witnesses explain that once the number of rings necessary to anchor the castle correctly has been calculated, that is, distributing them along its entire perimeter, an 10% extra. Then there is a second increment produced by roundingthat is, if it is estimated that it needs 15.7 anchor points, 16 or even 17 will be placed. And, finally, a third correction factor until reaching a security of 177.77%that is, they add almost 80% more anchor points.
As he owner of the castle as the engineer contracted by him to certify the installation, they said that the attraction was tied with six anchor points (15 witnesses affirm that, to the minor on one of the sides, there was no type of tie).
Even if it had been so those 6 anchors account for a third (36%) of the minimum security essential for that particular inflatable, which would be 17 lashing points, that is, 100% of the safety estimated by the manufacturer. But, if the calculation is about the security that they guarantee, that is, with the correction factor of a 177.77% (all 30 factory anchor points), the six that showman and engineer claim that were placed would mean a fifth of the support recommended by the manufacturer. However, that it is not included in the engineer’s report which certified the installation for the Christmas Fair.
the force of the wind
Even so, the manufacturer makes it clear in the instruction book that accompanies the castle as documentation -the damaged one, specifically, was sold in November 2017, at Induferia, in Valencia- that The installation must never be started up with winds that exceed 30 kilometers per hour, though, if installed to factory guidelines “allows more than a wind-safe arrangement of not just 30kph, but even significantly higher.” And later they clarify that this oversize of 177.77% can cope with winds of up to 40 km/h.
In addition, they clarify that the security not only give it, obviously, the moorings, but whole installation system. These anchors “are subject to a PVC tarpaulin with polyester weft through a nylon thread braided multifilament polyester with multiple passes. These moorings”, they explain, “are prepared for withstand a force of 163 kilos“.
Furthermore, “the lashing straps they use support about 2,500 kilos”, and the steel rings used inside said tape “are welded and they have the capacity to withstand a force of 800 kilos”.
They add, to questions from the Police, that the attraction may be anchored to the ground, when it is made of earth -in the Plaza de la Libertad there were locations that would have allowed it to be done like this, but it was located on a tiled area- or paved. In this second case, when the ground cannot be drilled, the fixing with counterweights that they can withstand those 160 kilos of force each of them, as long as the angle with respect to the ground is between 30 and 45 degrees, “avoiding parallel as much as possible and never in the opposite direction”. They also recommend that the strap that is attached to a fixed point (trees, benches, pillars…) be too long to avoid “catching wind from below”.
In short, the safety of the inflatable is given by the entire fastening system and by the anchorages that any manufacturer “with a minimum technical qualification” estimates with a practical rule: “The effective surface area facing the wind (speed up to 40 km/ h) of an inflatable supported by a duly arranged anchor must not exceed 9.3 m2″. And the number of anchors obtained is increased by 77.77% more. As the manufacturer said in his first interview with Homicide, if the facility was secured that way, the gust would have ripped the tarpaulin off, but it would never have blown up the castle.
The Police checks if the security elements have been altered
For all this, Homicide concludes that, if the installation has been put into operation following the manufacturer’s guidelineswith the 30 anchor points properly securedthe castle would not have flown although it might have broken, the nine children who played inside it would not have been thrown out and, “consequently, the death of Cayetana and Vera could have been avoided“.
The agents not only took a statement in Illescas (Toledo), where the factory is located, the manufacturer and the industry engineer, but also brought with them samples of all security elements of that particular castle – a scrap of PVC material that they use for these attractions, another of the blue webbing that surrounds the grip ring and a steel ring of those that they use at each anchor point-, which will now be compared with those that the damaged installation has and used, which is in a warehouse in judicial storage at the disposal of the investigation, to verify if they were the factory ones or if any of them -or all- had been replaced by others of inferior quality that broke the initial guarantee of security.