MELBOURNE — Two children were killed and several others critically injured on Thursday after falling 33 feet from an inflatable jumping castle that was lifted into the air by a gust of wind at a school in Australia, the authorities said.
The accident occurred about 10 a.m. at Hillcrest Primary School on the Australian island state of Tasmania, the police said. Thursday is the last day of the school year for most Tasmanian children, and the school was having a “big day in” to celebrate, according to a social media post.
Tasmania’s police commander, Debbie Williams, said: “It appears a wind gust has caused a jumping castle to lift in the air. Several children fell from the jumping castle, and it appears they may have fallen from a height of approximately 10 meters.”
Ambulances and helicopters were called to the scene, and some children were treated there, while others were taken to a hospital.
The school said on social media about 11 a.m. that it was closing for the rest of the day, adding, “We ask that parents come to collect their children as a matter of urgency.”
Devonport is a small city of about 23,000 people in northeast Tasmania. Hillcrest is one of its six primary schools.
The school event, which was supposed to run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., included a slippery slide, dancing and arts and crafts, along with a jumping castle on a school field, according to one Facebook post.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison called the events “shattering” and “unthinkably heartbreaking.”
He added that he had spoken to Peter Gutwein, the premier of Tasmania, who was traveling to the scene.
When contacted, Hillcrest Primary School referred a reporter for The New York Times to the Department of Education, which said a news conference would be held later in the day.