Wind Lifts Bouncy Castle into the Air Killing 5 Sixth Graders in Tasmania

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The Associated Press, CBC

Five children died and four others were in critical condition on Thursday after falling from a bouncy castle that was lifted 10 metres into the air by a gust of wind at a school on Australia’s island state of Tasmania.

The school was holding a celebration to mark the end of the school year.

The children who died included two boys and two girls in Year 6, which would make them 10 or 11 years old, said Tasmania police commissioner Darren Hine. Police later on Thursday confirmed a fifth child died in hospital.

Five other children were being treated, including four in critical condition. Hine said an investigation is underway.

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Images published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation showed police officers consoling each other as paramedics provided first aid to victims.

Parents arrived at the school gate to collect their children as helicopters ferried the injured to hospitals.

Tasmania state Premier Peter Gutwein called the accident “simply inconceivable”.

“I know this is a strong and caring community that will stand together and support one another,” he said.

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Tasmania police commander Debbie Williams told reporters “several children fell from the jumping castle. It appears they may have fallen from a height of approximately 10 metres.”

“This is a very tragic event, and our thoughts are with the families and the wider school community and also our first responders,” Williams said.’

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the deaths as “shattering and 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 told reporters.

Hine said after an initial investigation the incident would be referred to a coroner for an inquest.