Five children dead and four fighting for their lives after plunging 30ft off bouncy castle caught in gust of wind

FIVE children have died and three others are fighting for their lives after falling 30ft from a bouncy castle that was caught in a gust of wind.

The tragedy happened after the inflatable was lifted into the air at a school on Australia's island state of Tasmania on Thursday.

Hillcrest primary school in Devonport was holding a celebration before the Christmas holidays to mark the end of the year.

The children who died included two boys and two girls in year six, aged 10 or 11 years old, said Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine.

Five children are in hospital, including four in a critical condition, with police launching an investigation into the horrific accident.

The bouncy castle was seen in a shredded heap after falling to the ground near the school.

Police officers were seen consoling each other at the scene as paramedics provided first aid to victims.

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

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The first victim to be identified is being remembered as a "beautiful, caring boy".

Zane was celebrating his last day of year six inside the bouncy castle when it was hit by the freak gust of wind.

Family friends of his mum Georgie have launched a GoFundMe page to raise money to help her through the devastating road ahead.

The page said Zane had "challenges growing up with his autism and ADHD" but that never set him back he kept achieving.

The friend wrote: "Georgie is the most amazing mum, she never gave up and was by his side every step of the way encouraging, loving and fighting for him.

"Georgie won't be able to work for some period of time where she makes fabulous cakes, cupcakes etc for a living."


Police Commissioner Hine said: "On a day when these children were meant to be celebrating the last day of primary school, instead we’re all mourning their loss.

“Our hearts are breaking for the families and the loved ones, schoolmates, teachers of these young people who were taken too soon.

“Our thoughts are also with those emergency services personnel who attended to try and save these people’s lives."

Commissioner Hine said it's "an emotional day" for everyone tragically impacted.

"I've already seen pictures of police officers quite upset, as you'd expect. Any emergency services and teachers, everyone is affected in some way."

One youngster who saw the terrifying scenes unfold said it could have been him.

He told The Mercury: "It was our turn next. Grade five and six went first."

Australia's prime minister, Scott Morrison, said the children's deaths were “shattering”.

Commander Debbie Williams said the tragic event would have been "confronting and distressing".

Tasmania's premier Peter Gutwein said the tragedy was "devastating and heartbreaking."

Mr Gutwein said: "I’m certain that I speak for all Tasmanians in extending my deepest sympathies to the family, friends and loved ones of everyone affected by today’s tragedy.

"For the five children who remain in hospital, our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families during this difficult time.

"On a day when school children are celebrating the end of term, so close to Christmas, it is simply inconceivable that this shocking tragedy has occurred.

"My heart goes out to everyone impacted by this tragedy."

Hillcrest school announced on Facebook it would be closing for the rest of the day and asked parents to urgently collect their children.

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