Artist Charged With Manslaughter After Sculpture Kills 2 in England

Police charged an artist Wednesday with manslaughter for the deaths of two women killed when an inflatable sculpture broke loose from its moorings.

Durham Police said Maurice Agis, 76, faced a charge of gross negligence manslaughter. He was released on bail until a court appearance Feb. 26.

Two women, aged 38 and 68, were killed when they were hurled from the inflatable artwork "Dreamspace" as it was blown 30 feet into the air by a gust of wind in July 2006. Thirteen people were injured in the incident in Chester-le-Street, northeast England.

Promotions company Brouhaha International Ltd., which helped organize the event, and Chester-le-Street District Council were charged with breaches of the Health and Safety Act.

"Dreamspace" was a 160 foot by 160 foot structure made of translucent PVC sheets that allowed adults and children to climb aboard and crawl through its network of multicolored tunnels.

It had toured Britain and Europe without incident for a decade before the 2006 accident.