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Jumping castles banned across all Tasmania schools and Department of Education sites until police conclude investigation


The Tasmanian Department of Education made the move as a safety precaution after five students were killed at a Devonport school during end of year celebrations.

Jumping castles will be banned across all Tasmanian schools following the tragic death of five students at a school event.

Year 6 students Zane Mellor, Peter Dodt, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, all 12-years-old and Addison Stewart, 11, were inside the bouncy house at the time when a large gust of wind threw it 10 metres into the air.

At least nine Hillcrest Primary School children were playing inside at the time. Three kids remain in a critical condition in hospital while one is recovering at home.

The school was celebrating the end of the year with an event called the “Big Day In” where a number of activities were taking place at the school’s grounds in Devonport.

Jumping castles across all Tasmania Education Department schools and sites will now be banned until further notice.

“Following the tragic accident at Hillcrest Primary School, the decision has been made to place a ban on the use of all jumping castles and inflatable amusement equipment on all sites,” senior health and safety adviser Mark Lobban said in an announcement.

“This extends to cover all external hires of (Department) sites.

“The ban will remain in place until further notice.”

A spokesperson confirmed the ban was in place until the results of the investigation have been handed down.

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Tasmania Police have not yet confirmed whether a jumping castle that was lifted into the air during a “wind event” was tethered to the ground.

Police Commissioner Darren Hine said an investigation is ongoing and police are preparing a report for the coroner with the support of WorkSafe Tasmania.

Commissioner Hine was unable to answer many of the questions posed by journalists at Friday morning’s press conference amid the investigation.

When asked if the jumping castle was tethered, he replied: “That forms part of the investigation”.

“We need to continue our investigation on behalf of the coroner as well as WorkSafe Tasmania.

“We all have a lot of questions and we need to form that as part of the investigation.”

Commissioner Hine said “it is fair to say that the wind was quite strong” when the jumping castle was lifted into the air.

“Again, this will all form part of the investigation to try to get an estimation of the wind strength, to see whether it was a freak event,” he said. 

Police understand there were close to 40 Year 5 and 6 students taking part in the end-of-term celebrations when the tragedy occurred.

There were also several adults in attendance who rendered first aid until emergency services arrived.

Fundraiser for families hits $1m

Australians and people from around the world have poured their hearts out and donated generously to the victims of the Tasmania jumping castle tragedy.

A fundraiser for all victims’ families, including three youngsters in critical condition and those injured, has seen more than $1 million donated in just over under 48 hours.

Devonport local Zoe Smith organised the appeal saying it was a “simple thing I could do” to support families through Christmas.

“I set up the page just as an external figure to support the community,” she told Skynews.com.au.

She said it was “amazing” to see the whole Tasmanian community rallying around the families affected by the tragic incident.

The mood in Devonport was described as “quite sombre and sad” but the generosity was a “positive thing to come out of it”.

“The money will go to each of the families but also a little bit will go to the school to support them and buy much needed supplies for the other students,” Ms Smith said.

More than 14,000 donations have been made with one quarter of those from Tasmanians.

If you or someone needs support after this tragedy you can reach out to the following services:

Lifeline 13 11 14

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

Beyond Blue Support Service 1300 224 636 (24 hours)



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