Australia mourns 5 ‘angels’ killed in bouncy castle accident


(LONDON) — Australia is coming together as a nation following Thursday’s bouncy castle tragedy in which five children were killed.

A gust of wind lifted the castle into the air, causing several children at the Devonport school in north Tasmania to fall from about a height of about 32 feet.

Police identified the victims as 11-year-old Addison Stewart and 12-year-olds Peter Dodt, Zane Mellor, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones and Jye Sheehan.

Three other children are still in critical condition, while one child who was injured has been discharged from hospital.

There are still more questions than answers over what happened. Police said they would be investigating whether the bouncy castle was properly tethered to the ground.

“There’s no doubt this incident will leave its mark and I know people are sending their thoughts and prayers from right across the country and even further afield,” Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine said.

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

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave his deepest sympathies to families and the people of Devonport, a city of fewer than 30,000 people.

“This is a tight-knit community,” Morrison said. “There would be few people, if any, in Devonport, that would haven’t had a connection to one of those families, to that school, to the first responders those impacted by this terrible, terrible tragedy.”

Hillcrest Primary School posted a message on Facebook on Friday, saying that “no words can truly express how we are all feeling” and advising anyone struggling with what happened to seek counseling.

Hundreds of flowers, soft toys and cards have been left at the entrance of the school, with one note saying: “May you five angels be surrounded by sunshine.” A candlelight vigil has been held and Christmas lights were switched off in honor of the young victims.

An online crowdfunding page for the victims’ families has raised more than $740,000.

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