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Devonport, Tasmania: Death toll in bouncy castle disaster rises to six with death of boy, 11


A sixth child has died after a 10-meter-high castle exploded in strange winds at an end-of-year celebration.

Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Heine confirmed that 11-year-old Chase Harrison died on Sunday afternoon – three days after the horrific accident.

The tragedy occurred Thursday morning at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, northern Tasmania, when a “small tornado” picked up the bounce house.

On Friday, police released the names of five other fifth- and sixth-year students who lost their lives in the disaster — Zane Mellor, Peter Doddt, J. Sheehan and Jalila Jane Marie Jones, all 12, 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 home.

Prime Minister Peter Gutwin said the Chase family was shocked, but agreed to let authorities release his name.

11-year-old Chase Harrison (pictured) died Sunday afternoon — three days after the horrific accident.

Addison Stewart (pictured) was also one of the five students who were tragically killed when the castle jump soared 10 meters into the air

Addison Stewart (pictured) was also one of the five students who were tragically killed when the castle jump soared 10 meters into the air

Pictured: Jalila Jane Marie Jones, 12, who also died in the tragedy Thursday morning.

Pictured: Jalila Jane Marie Jones, 12, who also died in the tragedy Thursday morning.

“We have offices there with them and to make sure they can return to Devonport safely, so we have a support mechanism in place to help them deal with this incredibly traumatic situation,” he said.

When asked how long the police investigation into the disaster would take, Mr Gutwin said: It’s too early to say but there are a lot of parts of the investigation to be pieced together.

“We don’t want to rush it but we also understand that society wants answers.”

Gutwein also explained that there were more than 40 fifth graders and 6 kids at the graduation ceremony on Thursday morning.

“We know it is difficult for those involved so we want to make sure we have the best services to meet all the affected children,” he said.

“We have to do this in a sensitive way, and we have accepted the offer of NSW Police to accept their assistance.”

Pictured: Peter Dowdt, 12, who tragically died in the castle-jumping disaster on Thursday morning

Pictured: Peter Dowdt, 12, who tragically died in the castle-jumping disaster on Thursday morning

Zane Mellor tragically died Thursday morning in a castle jumping accident in Tasmania

Zane Mellor tragically died Thursday morning in a castle jumping accident in Tasmania

Police announced Friday afternoon that Ji Shihan, 12, was also among the victims

Police announced Friday afternoon that Ji Shihan, 12, was also among the victims

Mr Hein said child forensic investigators traveled to Tasmania on Sunday to help interview young witnesses over the coming days.

“It is critical that we do not pre-empt any conclusions until all evidence is collected and the investigation is complete,” he said.

The Prime Minister commended the Tasmanian community for bringing them together to support affected families.

Eyewitnesses said the stunned parents collapsed into the gutter, sobbing when they heard what had happened to their children.

The prime minister was seen comforting his wife as she collapsed laying flowers outside school on Saturday.

The bouquets were left with a handwritten note that read: “In memory of these beautiful children who are no longer with us.”

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny paid tribute to the children who were tragically killed in a bizarre castle jumping accident in Tasmania this week.

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny paid tribute to the children who were tragically killed in a bizarre castle jumping accident in Tasmania this week.

Tasmanians gathered at the school on Friday and Saturday to pay their respects to the victims of the tragedy (pictured)

Tasmanians gathered at the school on Friday and Saturday to pay their respects to the victims of the tragedy (pictured)

Our hearts are broken for the families and community we left behind. I think of you all. With love and compassion, Jane, Scott, Abby and Lily.

Mr. Morrison solemnly knelt for a minute of silence before reading some of the cards left by the community members.

The photos showed the smashed faces of family members, classmates and fellow community members who are unable to comprehend how such a tragedy could happen.

State Education Secretary Sarah Courtney was visibly emotional when she delivered a bouquet of flowers to the memorial on Saturday.

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwin, Deputy Prime Minister Jeremy Rockcliffe and Devonport Mayor Annette Rockcliffe handed out flowers, while children wrote heartfelt messages in crayon on the sidewalk.

Tasmanians flock to Hillcrest Primary School on Thursday and Friday to pay their respects (pictured)

Tasmanians flock to Hillcrest Primary School on Thursday and Friday to pay their respects (pictured)

Hundreds of flower bouquets began to draw a hill in front of the school fence (pictured)

Hundreds of flower bouquets began to draw a hill in front of the school fence (pictured)

Hundreds of flower bouquets began lining the hill in front of the school fence, along with soft toys and emotional written tributes.

The entire side of the corridor is now a shrine dedicated to remembering lost students.

This comes after it was revealed that the state’s Department of Education had banned all public schools from using castle jumping while investigating the incident.

The Tasmanian Department of Education confirmed that it had “discontinued the use of castle-style jumping equipment until the results of the investigation were known”.



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