July 19, 2024
Jumping castle tragedy in Tasmania claims sixth victim, as survivor visits Hillcrest school site

A sixth child injured during Thursday’s jumping castle tragedy in Tasmania has died on the day the site was visited by a survivor who paid tribute to his classmates.

Eleven-year-old Chace Harrison died on Sunday afternoon after his life support was turned off, police confirmed.

Chace is the sixth victim of Thursday’s event, when a jumping castle became airborne at end-of-year celebrations at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, in the state’s north-west.

Of the nine children involved in the incident, two remain in a critical condition at the Royal Hobart Hospital, and one is recovering at home.

On Sunday, Beau, one of the survivors, visited the site where floral tributes lined the verge of the school.

With both arms in bandages, Beau was supported by his mum Tammy as they laid gifts of gaming controllers and soft teddies in memory of his friends.

The news of Chace’s death and Beau’s visit came on a day of heartbreaking scenes, as the community continued to struggle with the loss of young lives.

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Hillcrest Primary School student Beau pays tribute to his classmates.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Police Commissioner Darren Hine extended his condolences to the families involved in the accident.

“Nine children were seriously injured in Thursday’s incident. Devastatingly, six children have now passed away.”

Commissioner Hine said interstate help is on the way as officers continue to investigate the incident.

“Given the magnitude of this critical incident and the need to speak to a large number of traumatised children within a short period of time, we have accepted an offer from NSW Police to assist in conducting interviews,” he said.

Commissioner Hine said four forensic child interviewers would travel to the state today to assist.

Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine.
Commissioner Hine gave his condolences to the families involved in the tragedy.(ABC News: Kate Ainsworth)

The community of Devonport is still reeling from the jumping castle tragedy.

Paramedic staff return to scene of jumping castle tragedy.
Paramedic staff return to the scene at Hillcrest Primary School on Sunday.

Heartbroken relatives of the Hillcrest Primary School students killed and injured in Thursday’s incident — along with wellwishers — have overwhelmed the site with tributes, cards and other items expressing their sympathies.

Today, a relative of one of the students was seen hugging a tree, at the location where the inflatable equipment eventually came to rest.

Paramedic staff have also visited the site where the jumping castle became airborne.

The circumstances of the tragedy — and whether proper precautions were followed — is still being investigated.

Composite image of six victims of jumping castle tragedy with school signage as background
The Devonport jumping castle tragedy has claimed six lives: From top left: Chace Harrison, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, Zane Mellor. From bottom left: Addison Stewart, Jye Sheehan and Peter Dodt.(ABC News/Supplied)

Nine children fell from a height of about 10 metres, due to what eyewitnesses have told police was a gust of wind.

Tasmania Police named the children as Addison Stewart (11), Zane Mellor (12), Jye Sheehan (12), Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones (12), Peter Dodt (12) and Chace Harrison (11).

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It was meant to be an end of year celebration for the students.

The school had been holding an end of year celebration, with the jumping castle and zorb balls — large enough for people to climb inside — part of the festivities.

Tasmanian Police, WorkSafe Tasmania and the coroner have begun an investigation into the incident that is expected to take “quite some time.”

Two police officers sitting on the ground lean on each other.
Police and paramedics were visibly distressed on the day of the tragedy.(ABC News)
Teddy bears in a line.
Teddy bears in a classroom make up just a part of the items left in memoriam.(ABC News)

The tragedy has also lead to an outpouring of grief and a flood of support from all over the country. 

Hawthorn and Richmond will also play an AFL pre-season match in the state’s north-west in March, to raise funds for the victims and the wider community. 

Cards and tributes.
Cards and items have been left in tribute to the deceased and injured students and emergency responders who first attended.(ABC News)