A sixth child has died as a result of a bouncy castle incident that occurred last week in which an inflatable structure was lifted by wind and fell from more than 30 feet in the air amid a school celebration in Australia.
“It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm an 11-year-old boy passed away in hospital this afternoon,” Commissioner Darren Hine said in a Dec. 19 press release published by Tasmania Police.
“His name is Chace Harrison.”
Tasmania Police have reported nine children seriously injured with two children still in critical conditions in the Royal Hobart Hospital in Hobart, Australia. One child is recovering at home.
Names and ages of the five other children who died were announced Thursday on the police Facebook page, with permission from the families.
The incident took place at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport as kids were celebrating their last day of school. The students had fallen from a height of nearly 33 feet after wind caused the bouncy castle and several inflatable “zorb” balls to lift into the air at about 10:00 a.m. “Police and emergency services, including two helicopters rushed to the scene within minutes and began administering first aid,” Tasmania Police reported.
Following the accident, Hillcrest had announced on Facebook it was closing the school for the remainder of the day, writing: “We ask that parents come to collect their children as a matter of urgency.”
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) said if it’s windy outside, people should not use a bounce house. When using a bounce house, the maximum wind speed should be no more than 15 to 25 mph, the CPSC confirmed to Fox News. Search engine results of wind speed in Devonport Thursday was 9 to 14 mph during daytime hours. It’s still unclear if the bounce house in this incident was staked to the ground.
Tasmania Police said an investigation is underway with involvement from WorkSafe Tasmania – a government safety organization in Tasmania. Hine said the investigation is being led by Devonport Criminal Investigation Branch with assistance from officers from Launceston CIB and under direction of the coroner.
“Their priority will be to interview all witnesses, gather and analyse forensic evidence and all environmental aspects, including weather patterns and conditions at the time of the incident,” Hine said in the release.
“Given the magnitude of this critical incident and the need to speak to a large number of traumatised children within a short period of time, we have accepted an offer from NSW Police to assist in conducting interviews in relation to the investigation.”
Hine said four child interviewers would be traveling to Tasmania to speak with young witnesses.
“It is paramount we don’t pre-empt any outcome until all evidence is gathered and the investigation is complete,” Hine said. “This will allow the Coroner to determine the findings based on all the available evidence and facts.”
Tasmania Police wrote on its site that support and counseling are available to all, including emergency service workers who responded to the call.
On its Facebook page, Hillcrest Primary School also released a list of support services for children and families affected by the incident.
“Our hearts, like yours, are breaking,” Hillcrest wrote. “Our thoughts continue to be with our families, school, and broader community. As we begin to come to terms with this loss it is so important that we all ensure we get the support we need at this time.”
Since the accident, a GoFundMe page titled Support for Families – Hillcrest Primary School has raised more than $1.3 million. Organizer Zoe Smith said all funds will go to the families of the children who were tragically killed and injured.
The CPSC recently released to Fox News its up-to-date guidelines on how to stay safe while using bounce houses. Read those tips here.