Global—Five children are dead and another four are critically injured after they fell 32 feet from a bouncy castle lifted into the air by wind at a school event in Australia
Nine children were in the castle at about 10 a.m. local time when it fell to the ground, Tasmania Police said in a statement. The students at Hillcrest Primary School had been celebrating the end of the school year, the statement said.
The five children include two girls and two boys — the gender of a fifth child who died later in hospital is not known. Four other children remain in the hospital with serious injuries. Typically children in grade 6 are between 10 and 12 years old.
“On a day where these children were meant to be celebrating their last day at primary school, instead we are all mourning their loss,” Police Commissioner Darren Hine said.
“Our hearts are breaking for the families and loved ones, schoolmates and teachers of those children taken too soon,” he said.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the incident “unthinkably 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,” Morrison said.
Police said a “significant local wind event” caused the castle to lift about 10 meters, or 32 feet, off the ground.
Emergency services, including helicopters, were dispatched to the school to treat the injured and transport some to hospital.
“This is a very tragic event and our thoughts are with the families and the wider school community, and also our first responders,” Police Commander Debbie Williams told reporters at the school on Thursday.
“There is no doubt that this has been a very confronting and distressing scene. Counseling is being made available to the families affected by this in the school community along with the first responders,” she said.
Two helicopters and other emergency vehicles rushed to the scene in Devonport within minutes of the incident.