Five children dead after school jumping castle tragedy in Tasmania

·2-min read

Five children have died after they fell about 10 metres from a jumping castle that was blown into the air at a primary school in northwest Tasmania.

It was reported two children had died earlier on Thursday morning, with police confirming the additional deaths late in the afternoon.

Officers confirmed during a press conference that two of the children were boys and two were girls. No details of the fifth victim have been released. All were in grade six at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, celebrating their last day of primary school.

Ambulance personnel on scene at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania, Thursday, December 16, 2021. Source: AAP
Four children have died after falling about 10 metres from a jumping castle. Source: AAP

Four more children remain in hospital, Tasmania police said.

It is believed a gust of wind caused the jumping castle to lift into the air around 10am.

"It is an emotional day for everyone who is tragically impacted by today," Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine told reporters.

police
Devastated police officers console one another at the scene. Source: ABC News

"On a day when these children were meant to be celebrating their last day of primary school, instead we're all mourning their loss," Commissioner Hine said.

"Our hearts are breaking for the families and the loved ones, schoolmates, teachers of these young people who were taken too soon."

An investigation into the incident is now underway.

Tragedy is 'devastating and heartbreaking'

Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein said the tragedy "devastating and heartbreaking".

"It’s difficult for me to find the right words," he said.

"My thoughts are obviously with ... the parents of the children that have been injured and with the emergency services."

Earlier on Wednesday, Commander Debbie Williams said at the scene "several children fell from the jumping castle".

"It appears they may have fallen from a height of approximately 10 metres," she said.

Hillcrest Primary announced on Facebook it was closing for the remainder of Thursday and asked parents to urgently collect their children.

A vigil has been set up at a nearby church.

'Strong gust of wind'

Bob Smith, who lives near the school, told The Mercury newspaper he saw kids on the ground.

"There was one really strong gust of wind on what is a beautiful calm day," he said.

"At first we thought it might have been an emergency services training exercise then the reality of what was happening kicked in."

With AAP

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