A hopping fort in a school is blown up to ten meters into the air by the wind. Many children died and others were injured. The school was celebrating its anniversary at the time of the incident.
The death toll from a tragic accident in the Australian state of Tasmania has risen to five. Another student at Hillcrest Elementary School in Devonport, Tasmania, has died from his serious injuries, Australian broadcaster ABC reported, citing police. Four more children are being treated at the hospital and some more children are in critical condition.
According to police spokesman Darren Hain, the victims were two women and three boys. “These kids wanted to celebrate their last day in elementary school and instead we should mourn them,” Hein said.
“The greatest tragedy in the history of Davenport”
A violent wind blew the castle into the air. Then the children fell from a height of ten meters. The school in northwestern Tasmania held its Christmas celebration and celebrated the end of the year with activities such as hopping. According to the broadcaster “9 News”, the speed of the wind would have turned the fort into a “deadly weapon”. It was “the greatest tragedy in the history of Davenport”.
Several rescue helicopters and ambulances were deployed at the crash site. On television, the emergency services who screened the area could be seen crying. It was a “very confusing and painful scene,” said Tasmania Police Chief Debbie Williams. The school was closed following the accident. Numerous parents rushed to the scene of the accident. Numerous members of the public sprinkled flowers on the school fence. In the evening, the victims should be remembered at a nearby church.
Investigations are underway into the cause
It is not yet clear how the accident happened. Officers began an investigation – to find out how the hopping fort was anchored to the ground and how it was released by the wind. “Many people and witnesses will have to be interviewed, so it will take time,” said Police Commissioner Hine. The initial focus is on supporting the children and relatives of the deceased.
Tim Bullard of the Tasmanian Ministry of Education said: “We integrate a wide range of services in support of students, families and staff and our approach is guided by our senior psychologists trained in trauma-information practice.”
PM: “It breaks your heart”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the incident as “unimaginably captivating”. “Today’s events in Davenport, Tasmania are staggering,” he said. “Little kids want a fun day with their families, which can turn into a terrible tragedy at this time of year. It breaks your heart.”
Dangerous accidents have been caused by inflatable objects in the past, though very rarely: in 2015, two children in Estonia were killed when a strong wind blew a fort several meters high. Three more children were seriously injured. In 2016, a seven-year-old child died in a storm in Harlow, Essex, when a bouncing castle loosened and fell 300 meters down the hill like a “wagon wheel”.
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