Politics

Devonport community ‘wrapping its arms around’ families devastated by jumping castle tragedy


The close community of Devonport is working hard to “wrap its arms around” the families devastated by the horror jumping castle accident, which has claimed five young lives.

Three children are still fighting for their lives at the Royal Hobart Hospital after five of their classmates were killed in the jumping castle accident at a Tasmanian primary school yesterday.

One child has this morning been discharged from hospital to recover at home.

Zane (left) and Addison (right) were killed in the accident. (Supplied)

Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine said three boys and two girls had died, with one aged 11 and the other four children aged 12.

He said police understood there were close to 40 grade five and six students taking part in the end-of-term activities when the jumping castle accident occurred at Hillcrest Primary School yesterday morning.

Tributes for two of the children, Zane and Addison, have been posted online.

Zane is being remembered as a “beautiful caring, gentle soul”.

In an online fundraiser, a family remember of Addison wrote: “Everyone is devastated, she was always such a sweet kind, old soul.”

A report will be prepared for the coroner after the accident at Hillcrest Primary School.
A report will be prepared for the coroner after the accident at Hillcrest Primary School. (Marta Pascual Juanola)
Police Commissioner Darren Hine said around 40 children were involved in the celebrations. (Nine)

Commissioner Hine declined to reveal more details of the accident but said “the majority of those injured were in the jumping castle” when it was lifted by the gust of wind.

Police are preparing a report on their investigation into the tragedy for the Coroner and WorkSafe Tasmania.

He thanked the police involved for “their incredible response to such a confronting and distressing incident”.

Tragedy ‘beyond comprehension’

Commissioner Hine said the whole Devonport region was feeling the loss deeply.

“Tasmanians are coming together to support each other at this very difficult time,” said.

“Support those around you and ask for help if you are struggling.”

Premier Peter Gutwein said the tragedy yesterday was “beyond comprehension”.

“It’s devastating, heartbreaking. It’s just simply incomprehensible,” he said.

Tributes for the children killed have been laid outside the Devonport school.
Tributes for the children killed have been laid outside the Devonport school. (Marta Pascual Juanola)

Mr Gutwein said the community was supporting each other and was very grateful for the support it had been receiving from elsewhere.

“I have had the opportunity to speak with people in this community, to come to understand just how connected this community is,” he said.

“To the parents of the five children who tragically died yesterday, our thoughts are with you. As a community, as a state, we’re thinking of you.”

Devonport school jumping castle tragedy
The community has come together to raise money for the families. (Today)
Tributes have been left for the victims of the jumping castle tragedy in Tasmania. (Nine)

The local mayor has vowed the community will do all it can to support each other while a fundraiser for the families directly affected has already raised more than $400,000.

The Mayor of Devonport, Annette Rockliff, told Today members of the community are taking care of each other as they come to terms with the tragedy.

“I think we’re all still in shock – still trying to process the whole thing,” she said.

“It is unimaginable and it’s a very difficult time for so many people in our community.”

Ms Rockliff said the Devonport community was very close-knit.

“Everyone will know someone who knows someone in the family or in the school community,” she said.

“I know that they are taking care of each other and we will continue to do that as best we can over the coming days and weeks.

“There’s nothing that the mayor of Devonport can say that will make that any better for them. But I hope they just know that this community will wrap our arms around them and do the best we can to support them.”

A vigil has been set up at a Devonport church following the freak jumping castle accident that killed five children. (Nine)

An 18-year-old from Devonport who has no personal connections to the incident has set up a crowdfunding page to support the families who have been affected.

In less than 24 hours, it has garnered over $300,000 in donations.

Zoe Smith said responses to her fundraiser had been “astronomical”.

“What started out as such a small amount has just shown the amount of love the community has for these people and how much hurt they are going through,” she told Today.

“Hopefully this can just alleviate a little bit of that pain.”

Ms Smith said as someone who was not personally connected to the incident, she thought she was well-placed to help organise financial support.

As well as financial donations, the crowdfunding page has been inundated with compassionate messages for the families and victims.



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