A POLICE investigation was under way last night after five people, including several children, were rushed to hospital when high winds blew an inflatable slide 160ft across a packed car boot sale.

Onlookers watched in horror as the children's attraction flew across the site at Ripley Cricket Club, near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, and over an AA van.

Last night it was not clear if any of those injured were on the slide at the time.

Eyewitness Chris Norton, from Harrogate, said: "I saw it from a distance and the speed and height terrified me. I hope everyone is okay. The wind was vicious."

Other eyewitnesses reported seeing the slide getting lifted by the wind, knocking some people to the ground.

Police investigating the incident cordoned off the scene, just off Main Street in Ripley, and seized the slide. It was later taken away on a recovery vehicle for further examination.

The Health and Safety Executive was also notified and called in to carry out inquiries.

Five ambulances and a rapid response vehicle were called to the scene shortly after 10am and took four of the injured to Harrogate District Hospital, while another patient was taken to Leeds General Infirmary.

It is believed a sixth person was also injured, but did not require hospital treatment.

Ripley Castle, which leases the land to the cricket club, posted a message on its Facebook page, which said: "Our sympathy to all those affected by the bouncy castle incident at the Ripley Cricket Club car boot sale on the cricket ground this morning. Hope those injured make a swift recovery."

A later message said: "The latest information that we have been given indicates that none of the injuries are serious, thank heavens. One person being detained in hospital for observation, just to be certain."

North Yorkshire Police said the people hurt were not critically injured.

The cricket club declined to comment.

A member of staff at the nearby Boar's Head Hotel, in Ripley, said she heard the ambulances go past, but didn't realise what had happened until a number of people came into the hotel.

"Lots of people were coming in saying they couldn't get out of the car-park," she said.