A SIXTH child has died in hospital in Australia three days after a “mini-tornado” launched a bouncy castle 30ft into the air.
The death of Chace Harrison, 11, comes as two other kids continued to fight for their lives after falling from the inflatable lifted up by the whirlwind at an end-of-term party in the northern Tasmania town of Devonport.
Tasmania police commissioner Darren Hine said: “It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm an 11-year-old boy passed away in hospital this afternoon.
“Our thoughts continue to be with his family, and the families and loved ones of all the children involved, during what is an incomprehensibly difficult time.”
On Friday afternoon, police released the names of his classmates who died in the disaster – Zane Mellor, Peter Dodt, Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, all age 12, and Addison Stewart, 11.
Two other children remain in critical condition in hospital in the state capital Hobart, while one child is recovering at home.
The tragedy triggered an outpouring of grief in the local community and around Australia.
Floral tributes have grown outside the school, with an online fundraiser for affected families raising more than £650,000.
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Meg Aherne, Addison’s aunt, said she was struggling to come up with words as the whole family had been left “dévasté”.
Family friends of Zane’s 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 and he kept on achieving.
Authorities have said that initial witness reports indicated the children were thrown from a height of about 33 pieds.
Nearby residents recalled seeing the terrifying moment the jumping castle being swept up by the wind.
Bob Smith told the Mercure: “Then I saw kids on the ground.
“There was one really strong gust of wind on what was a beautiful calm day.
“At first we thought it might have been an emergency services training exercise then the reality of what was happening kicked in.”
There was one really strong gust of wind on what was a beautiful calm day
Tasmanian police has confirmed a “significant local wind event” contributed to the tragedy.
“This is a very tragic event and our thoughts are with the families and the wider school community, and also our first responders,” Commander Debbie Williams said.
“There is no doubt that this has been a very confronting and distressing scene.”
Tasmanian authorities have started a probe into the incident, which they expect will “take some time”.
Specialist police are being flown to the island state to assist with interviewing people who were at the outdoor party, which some 40 primary school children attended.
Children were celebrating the last day of term at Hillcrest Primary School near Devonport, Tasmania when the freak accident occurred.
Zane Mellor was described by a family friend as a “belle, bienveillance, gentle soul” who was never set back by his challenges of autism and ADHD.