Girl in Taiwan Is Swept High by a Kite

The Four Percent

HONG KONG — A 3-year-old girl was swept high into the sky after a streamer became tangled around her neck during a kite-flying festival in northern Taiwan this weekend.

The child hovered above throngs of spectators and was zipped around by strong winds for a heart-stopping 30 seconds amid inflatable pandas and astronauts as screams erupted from spectators.

The girl, who was identified by news outlets only by her last name, Lin, landed mostly unscathed at the Hsinchu International Kite Festival. She suffered abrasions around her neck and face, the mayor of Hsinchu, Lin Chih-chien, wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday. She was admitted to a hospital for a medical examination, he said.

The startling episode drew an apology from the mayor, led to the suspension of festivities and added a frisson of horror to an event that usually draws tens of thousands of visitors for what’s supposed to be a fun time at the two-day festival.

Somehow, as a powerful draft lifted the ballooning kite from the grass, its tail lassoed the 3-year-old by the neck and hoisted her upward. The pumpkin-orange kite suddenly became a parachute.

Dangling from the kite, the girl was whizzed across a sky full of floating cartoon figures and jerked around. Screams and shouts could be heard.

When the winds shifted less than a minute later, the girl was spun rapidly in circles before people managed to pull the kite to the ground. Spectators jumped onto the kite’s tail to prevent it from taking off again.

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Shie Jiun-hung, an official with the Fisheries Department, said the girl’s parents had blamed themselves for the accident.

He said that the local government would no longer allow candy kites to take flight again in public events and would impose stricter rules in the future.

As for the girl, the official said that she returned home Sunday and promptly had a nap.

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