6 Kids Killed, 3 Hurt in Bounce House Disaster

It was blown more than 30 feet into the air at primary school fun day in Australia
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 16, 2021 5:14 AM CST
Updated Dec 20, 2021 12:00 AM CST
5 Kids Killed, 4 Hurt in Bounce House Disaster
Emergency services personnel work the scene of a deadly incident involved with a bouncy castle at the Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania, Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021.   (Grant Wells/AAP Image via AP)

Update: A sixth child has died after an unimaginable accident in Australia last week. Chace Harrison, 11, was taken off life support Sunday, the BBC reports. The other children killed were Addison Stewart, 11, and Zane Mellor, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, and Peter Dodt, all 12. Three other children were in the bounce house when it was blown more than 30 feet into the air; two of them remain in critical condition and one has been released from the hospital. An investigation into how the accident occurred continues. Our original story from Thursday follows:

A devastating tragedy in Tasmania: Five children died Thursday and four others were critically injured after falling from a bounce house that was blown more than 30 feet into the air, the BBC reports. The disaster happened during a fun day at an elementary school in Devonport on the Australian island's north coast. "On a day where these children were meant to be celebrating their last day at primary school, instead we are all mourning their loss," said Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine, per the Examiner. Hine said the victims included two boys and two girls in year 6, which would make them 10 or 11 years old, the AP reports. A fifth child died in the hospital after Hine spoke to reporters.

Police say the children fell from around 32 feet after a "wind event" lifted it into the air. It's not clear how the bounce house, known as a jumping castle in Australia, was anchored to the ground. Giant inflatable Zorb balls were also blown into the air. Hine said the investigation will take "quite some time." "Sadly, there are a number of people and witnesses there that need to be interviewed, so it will take quite some time and will be guided by the coroner," he said, per the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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Witnesses said there were distressing scenes as parents rushed to Hillcrest Primary School, not knowing whether their children had been in the bounce house. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the disaster as "just shattering," the BBC reports. "Young children on a fun day out ... and it turns to such horrific tragedy—at this time of year—it just breaks your heart," Morrison said. Within hours of the disaster, a GoFundMe fundraiser raised more than $120,000 to support the victims' families. (More Australia stories.)

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