17 Dec 2021

Fifth child dies in hospital after bouncy castle tragedy at Tasmanian school

10:38 am on 17 December 2021

A fifth child has died and four others remain in hospital after wind picked up a bouncy castle and threw it into the air at a Tasmanian primary school.

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Photo: Australian Police

Children fell from a height of about 10 metres, causing serious injuries, when wind blew the jumping castle into the air at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, in the state's north-west.

Police confirmed on Thursday evening that the fifth another child had died in hospital after the incident, taking the death toll to five.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the incident as "unthinkably heartbreaking".

"Events that have occurred today in Devonport in Tasmania are just shattering," he said.

The coroner has attended the scene at the primary school, with a police investigation under way into how the incident occurred.

"Our hearts are breaking for the families and the loved ones, schoolmates and teachers of these young people who were taken too soon," Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine said yesterday.

"Our thoughts are also with those emergency services personnel who attended to try and save these people's lives."

Witnesses said it was a very confronting scene with police and parents rushing towards the school.

Many parents arrived at the school not knowing if their child had been affected, and police have been seen crying and embracing at the scene.

It is unclear how the bouncy castle lifted off. Police called it a "wind event" and a "gust" but the nearest weather bureau monitoring site, about 10km away at Devonport Airport, did not record anything out of the ordinary.

Police have not confirmed what was used to anchor down the jumping castle.

Fatal incidents involving bouncy castles are rare but have happened in other countries. Two children were killed and 20 other people injured in central China in 2019 when a jumping castle was blown into the sky by a dust devil.