by Mollie Fuller
AGUILAR- The Aguilar Mud Bog Day, held last Saturday the 11th, ended disastrously when a freak blast of wind snatched up a giant inflatable slide with several children still riding it. At approximately 6:25 pm, the wind picked up the slide and flung it through a 40 foot long chain link fence, bashed through a row of porta-potties, tents, a barbeque pit, a Coffee House stand, sailed over two barbed wire fences, and ended up over half a mile out into the prairie. Children were scattered along the path, as the ride was carried away, with several being injured.
Richard Martinez, of Walsenburg, said that he had just gotten his son off the slide because he noticed the wind becoming stronger. “We were sitting in the pickup right in front of the slide when the wind picked up the slide and carried it away. It was like watching a movie in slow motion.” Martinez said that the slide was “tossed through the air like it was nothing,” and that “kids were flung off right and left.” He also stated that his two nephews each sustained an injury, one with a shoulder injury and the other a possible concussion.
While Las Animas Co. Sheriff Deputy Kim Duncan, along with other deputies and emergency crew, assisted in the triage set up for the injured,
Deputy Elliott Grubert stated that “he ran after the slide trying to rescue any children who might have still been trapped in it.” Fortunately, none were and although 13 children and 1 adult were injured, they seemed to all be minor injuries.
Trinidad Ambulance service, Aguilar Sheriff’s Dept., Spanish Peaks Fire Dept., and Las Animas Co. Sheriff’s Dept. all responded to the incident. Grubert said, “The whole community banded together” to assisted emergency crews and each other, during the storm and in its aftermath.
The freak wind storm was believed to be a microburst, which is a small, localized but extremely powerful outrush of wind in a fan-out pattern from summer thunderheads. Microbursts can be as strong or stronger than some tornados.