News State Tasmania News Specialist police join probe into jumping castle tragedy

Specialist police join probe into jumping castle tragedy

hillcrest devonport tragedy
Top, from left: Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, Chace Harrison and Addison Stewart. Bottom, from left: Zane Mellor, Peter Dodt and Jye Sheehan. Photos: Tasmania Police
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Specialist police from NSW have arrived in Tasmania to assist with interviewing the many young witnesses of the Hillcrest Primary School tragedy.

Tributes are flowing for Chace Harrison, 11, who died in hospital on Sunday, taking the death toll from Thursday’s jumping castle accident in Devonport to six.

His death on Sunday followed the loss of 11-year-old Addison Stewart and 12-year-olds Zane Mellor, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones and Peter Dodt.

Two children remain in a critical condition in the Royal Hobart Hospital, while one other who was injured is recovering at home.

Four forensic child interviewers arrived in Tasmania on Sunday night and will begin their work on Monday.

Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said extra resources were needed given the large number of young and vulnerable witnesses.

About 40 students were involved in end-of-year celebrations at the primary school when a wind gust caught the jumping castle and sent it 10 metres airborne.

Police are investigating the circumstances along with WorkSafe Tasmania and both will report to the coroner.

“The ongoing coronial investigation is not something we can comment on,” Mr Higgins said.

“We’ll methodically work through the circumstances of it. The lead-up, what happened at the time and afterwards.”

Chace has been described as a much-loved part of Tasmania’s basketball community.

“It is with the heaviest of hearts that we say goodbye to our little Warrior, Chace,” his club, the Devonport Warriors, said in a post on social media.

“[To] all your extended family we wrap you in our hearts and offer you our support in these most heart shattering of times. To all who have been affected by this tragedy, we walk with you in your sorrow.

“Chace, seek out a basketball court, lit up by the stars and keep shooting those hoops!”

Devonport Christian School, where Chace was to begin high school next year, has said he would always be remembered.

The police investigation, which is expected to take some time, will also gather evidence about weather conditions when the incident occurred and whether proper safety procedures were followed.

The federal government recently announced $800,000 will be made available to fund trauma counselling for the community and first responders.

More than $1 million has also been raised in the community to support those mourning the tragedy.

The AFL has announced a tribute and fundraising pre-season match between Hawthorn and Richmond will be held in Tasmania on March 5.

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