Bouncy castle tragedy that kills sixth child after 11-year-old boy dies in hospital


Chase Harrison, an 11-year-old boy, “died at the hospital this afternoon,” Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hain said in a statement.

“Our thoughts will continue to be with his family and the families and loved ones of all the children involved, at a difficult time to understand,” Hein added.

The boy was one of nine children who fell 32 feet (10 meters) from a hopping castle thrown by the wind during a year-end event at Hillcrest Elementary School in Devonport, on the north coast of Tasmania.

In all, six children died in the tragedy. Two children are in critical condition at the hospital and another is recovering at home, police said.

The police had earlier released the names and pictures of the other 5 victims with the permission of their families. They are Addison Stewart, 11, and Jalaila Jane-Mary Jones, Jay Sheehan, Peter Todd and 12-year-old Jane Meller.

Five previous victims, from left: Addison Stewart, Jalaila Jane-Mary Jones, Jay Sheehan, Peter Todd and Jane Meller.

An investigation is underway into what caused the tragedy, including the strength of the wind and how the fort was attached to the ground.

Commissioner Hine said the priority of the Devonport Criminal Investigation Division was to “interview all witnesses, collect forensic evidence and analyze all environmental aspects, including weather patterns and conditions at the time of the incident.”

“Given the scale of this important incident and the need to speak with a greater number of traumatized children in the short term, we have accepted the opportunity of the NSW Police to conduct interviews in connection with the investigation,” Hein added. Assistance from the Great New South Wales State Army.

According to the school’s Facebook page, Bouncy Castle is one of the many treats organized for students as part of the “Big Day Inn”. Other activities include a water sports zone and jorb balls.

Heine said the wind lifted the fort from the ground while “about 40” children were participating in the activities. Several adults oversaw the event and provided first aid until emergency services arrived, he added.

The incident shook the nation, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters shortly afterwards that it was “unimaginably heartbreaking”.


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