SYDNEY (AP) — Five children died and four others were in critical condition on Thursday, December 16 after falling from a bouncy castle that was lifted 10 meters (33 feet) 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 Thursday confirmed a fifth child died in the hospital.
Five other children were being treated, including four in critical condition. Hine said an investigation is underway.
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 incident “simply inconceivable… I know this is a strong and caring community that will stand together and support one another.”
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 meters.”
“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.