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A sixth child died after a jumping castle was thrown 10 meters into the air by a strange gust of wind at a New Years Eve celebration.
Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine confirmed that 11-year-old Chace Harrison died Sunday afternoon, three days after the horrific accident.
The tragedy unfolded Thursday morning at Hillcrest Elementary School in Devonport, northern Tasmania, when the bouncy house was blown up by a ‘mini tornado’.
On Friday, the police released the names of the other five Year 5 and Year 6 students who lost their lives in the disaster: Zane Mellor, Peter Dodt, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, all 12 years old, and Addison Stewart, 11.
Two children are in critical condition at Royal Hobart Hospital, and 12-year-old Beau Medcraft was released Friday to recover at his home.
Prime Minister Peter Gutwein said Chace’s family is traumatized, but agreed to allow authorities to release his name.
“We have offices there with them and to make sure they can travel back to Devonport safely, so we have a support mechanism to help them deal with this incredible and traumatic situation,” he said.
When asked how long the police investigation into the disaster will take, Mr. Gutwein said: It is too early to say, but there are many parts of the investigation that need to be put together. ‘
“We don’t want to rush, but we also understand that the community wants answers.”
Mr. Gutwein also explained that there were over 40 children from Years 5 and 6 at the graduation celebration on Thursday morning.
“We know that it is difficult for those involved, so we want to make sure we have the best services to interview all affected children,” he said.
“We have to do it in a sensible way, and we have accepted the offer of the NSW Police to accept their help.”
Hine said the children’s forensic interviewers traveled to Tasmania on Sunday
Hine said the children’s forensic interviewers traveled to Tasmania on Sunday to help conduct interviews with the young witnesses over the next several days.
“It is paramount that we do not anticipate any results until all the evidence has been gathered and the investigation is complete,” she said.
The prime minister praised the Tasmanian community for coming together to support affected families.
Witnesses said distraught parents collapsed in the gutter sobbing when they heard what happened to their children.
The prime minister was seen comforting his wife when she collapsed while she was laying flowers outside the school on Saturday.
The bouquets were left with a handwritten note that read: ‘In loving memory of these beautiful children who are no longer with us.’
Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein
“Our hearts break for the families and the community left behind. Thinking of all of you. With love and sympathy, Jen, Scott, Abbey and Lilly. ‘
Mr. Morrison solemnly knelt for a minute of silence before reading some of the cards left by members of the community.
The photos have shown the shattered faces of family members, classmates and community members who cannot understand how such a tragedy could have occurred.
State Education Minister Sarah Courtney was visibly excited when she delivered a bouquet of flowers to the memorial on Saturday.
Tasmanian Prime Minister Peter Gutwein, Deputy Prime Minister Jeremy Rockliff and Devonport Mayor Annette Rockliff left flowers, while children wrote heartfelt messages in crayons on the sidewalk.
Hundreds of bouquets of flowers began to line up on a hill in front of the school fence
Hundreds of bouquets of flowers began to line a hill in front of the school’s fence, along with stuffed animals and emotional written tributes.
The entire side of the trail is now a shrine dedicated to remembering students who were lost.
It comes after it was revealed that the state education department banned all state schools from using jumping castles while the accident investigation is ongoing.
The Tasmanian Department of Education confirmed that they “suspended the use of jumping castle equipment until the results of the investigation are known.”
Chace Harrison Quick and Facts
- Chace Harrison, 11, died on Sunday afternoon – three days after the incident
- Five of his classmates also lost their lives after the jumping castle tragedy
- Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein said Chace’s family are traumatised
- Students at Devonport primary school fell after inflatable was lifted into the air