Tasmania bouncy castle tragedy: five children dead after wind lifts inflatable into air

Four pupils critically injured in 10-metre fall at primary school in Australian island state

Five children died and four others were in critical condition on Thursday after falling from a bouncy castle that was lifted 10 metres into the air by a gust of wind at a school on Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

The school was holding a celebration to mark the end of the school year.

The children who died included two boys and two girls in Year 6, which would make them 10 or 11 years old, said Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine. Police later on Thursday confirmed that a fifth child had died in hospital.

Five other children were being treated, four of them in critical condition. Mr Hine said an investigation is under way. Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the incident as “shattering and heartbreaking".

“Young children on a fun day out, together with their families and it turns to such horrific tragedy at this time of year. It just breaks your heart,” Mr Morrison said. Commander Debbie Williams confirmed the deaths, The Guardian reported.

“This is a very tragic event and our thoughts are with the families and the wider school community, and also our first responders,” Ms Williams said.

An ambulance helicopter at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania. EPA

“There is no doubt that this is a very confronting and distressing scene.

“Counselling is being made available to the families affected by this in the school community along with the first responders.”

Several rescue helicopters were used to transport the children to hospital, while police units and ambulance crews attended the scene.

Parents arrived at the school gate to collect their children as helicopters ferried the injured to hospitals.

Tasmania state Premier Peter Gutwein called the incident “simply inconceivable … I know this is a strong and caring community that will stand together and support one another”.

Ms Williams said “several children fell from the jumping castle. It appears they may have fallen from a height of approximately 10 metres”.

“This is a very tragic event and our thoughts are with the families, the wider school community, and our first responders,” Ms Williams said.

AP contributed to the report

Updated: December 16th 2021, 9:18 PM