In what’s being described as a freak accident, five children have died and four others left critically injured after a gust of wind lifted a bouncy castle 10 meters (33 feet) in the air. The incident happened at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania on Thursday morning local time, 7 News reports.
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- The school had set up bouncy castles many others times with no issues. There was no reason to assume the children were in any kind of danger, according to one local parent. “You wouldn’t dream a fun activity day would end like this,” she told a local newspaper. “We all feel so heartbroken for the parents involved. And feel guilty that we are also relieved our children were not injured.”
- Four children were pronounced dead at the scene. It was initially reported that only four children, two boys and two girls, had died while five were in the hospital. However, police later confirmed that one of the hospitalized children had succumbed to their injuries. The students were all in grades five and six.
- The students were celebrating the last day of the school year. This makes what happened even more devastating. “These children were meant to be celebrating their last day of primary school, instead we’re all mourning their loss,” Police Commissioner Darren Hine said in a statement. “Our hearts are breaking for the families and the loved ones, schoolmates, teachers, of these young people who were taken too soon.”
- The incident is under investigation. Police and Worksafe Tasmania are working together to investigate exactly what happened in order to prepare a full statement for the state coroner, who visited the scene earlier in the day. However, Hine said it would take “quite some time” to complete as witnesses needed to be interviewed. He added: “Our focus now is supporting those who are tragically affected by what’s happened.”