Powerful Wind Lifts Kite-Entangled Child Estimated 30 Feet Into Air in Viral Video

Fierce winds swept up a toddler entangled in an oversized kite on Sunday, carrying her through the air for about 30 seconds before eventually subsiding. Videos recorded during the Hsinchu City International Kite Festival in Hsinchu, Taiwan, show the 3-year-old girl suspended above the ground while alarmed attendees gather below. Several reports indicated that winds lifted her as high as 10 meters, which equates to roughly 30 feet.

The circumstances preceding the incident were unclear, although footage suggests the child became fastened to the neon-colored kite's strings or peripheral fabric prior to its airborne ascension. The kite did not appear to be tethered to the ground throughout the 3-year-old's flight, and onlookers were forced to wait for winds to weaken before it was within reach. After the girl soared over the festival crowd, and later spun rapidly as the kite descended, adults recovered her safely.

In a message shared to Facebook with updates about the child's condition, Hsinchu Mayor Lin Chih-chien said the girl underwent a medical examination immediately following the event and then returned home with her parents. The mayor noted that she suffered minor injuries, including bruises to the face and neck, but was otherwise healthy and unharmed. He also confirmed city officials suspended further activities scheduled to take place during Sunday's kite festival, "to ensure public safety."

Continuing, the mayor voiced his "deepest apologies" on behalf of Hsinchu's city government to those involved in the accident, as well as to the general public. He said authorities will conduct a thorough review to prevent similar occurrences in the future. Newsweek reached out to the mayor's office for additional comments but did not receive a reply in time for publication.

Powerful wind gusts seemed to be the root cause of the child's unexpected launch. One Hsinchu government representative, Chang Li-ke, classified the afternoon's wind speeds as reaching category 7 on the Beaufort scale, according to a report from Focus Taiwan, a branch of Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA). The Beaufort scale describes category 7 winds as those with sustained force between 32 and 38 miles per hour.

Hsinchu has hosted the annual kite festival at Nanliao Harbor, a port situated along Taiwan's northwestern coast, since at least 2017. The area is famous for its strong winds, which blow through consistently because of its proximity to the Taiwan Strait, a water channel that separates Taiwan from mainland China. Hsinchu is sometimes referred to as the Windy City as a result of its blustery weather, providing an ideal setting for kite-flying activities.

Taiwan kite-flying
People gather in Taiwan's New Taipei City for a kite festival in September 2011. Strong winds lifted a 3-year-old girl off the ground during the Hsinchu City International Kite Festival in northwest Taiwan on Sunday. PATRICK LIN/AFP via Getty Images
Powerful Wind Lifts Kite-Entangled Child Estimated 30 Feet Into Air in Viral Video | World