A three-year-old girl was hoisted dozens of metres into the air at an annual kite festival in Taiwan on Sunday after getting caught in the strings of one of the kites—swinging violently through the sky for several seconds before coming back down and being rescued unharmed.
The 2020 International Kite Festival commenced over the weekend in Nanliao, a seaside town located in the northeastern region of Hsinchu. The area is well-known for its high winds, making it an ideal spot for kiting, and over a dozen professional fliers had come to the event to put on shows and celebrate the festival’s fourth anniversary, according to Taiwan News.
At some point on Sunday afternoon, a toddler’s stomach became entangled in the end of a giant-long-tailed kite just moments before a sudden gust of wind plucked it up into the sky. Footage from the event captured the distressing incident, as the young girl is flung wildly around by the airborne kite for more than 30 seconds. Onlookers scream and yell until, eventually, the kite falls low enough for a group of people to catch her.
The toddler suffered mild scratches to her face and neck, but was otherwise unharmed. Event staffers immediately took her to hospital, alongside her mother, and shortly thereafter the Hsinchu City government called off the entire event.
“The city government team offers its sincere apology to the victim and the public,” the city’s mayor, Lin Chih-chien, wrote on Facebook on Sunday night. He further added that authorities would investigate the incident to ensure similar accidents didn’t happen in the future.
Chen Ko-fang, secretary-general of the Taiwan-based Asian Kite Forum, told Taiwan News that the kite in which the young girl became entangled was supposed to carry candies that would be scattered from the sky for children to catch. The kids would usually be kept at a distance until the kite was airborne, she added, claiming that the event organisers weren’t expecting such strong and sudden winds.
The gusts reportedly measured as high as level 7 on the Beaufort scale: defined as a “near gale” that usually reaches speeds of 32 to 29 miles per hour. Such winds are typically strong enough to set whole trees in motion, and cause “inconvenience … when walking against the wind”.