Today's Sylvia Jeffreys in tears over Tasmania school tragedy: 'Unthinkable'

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·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·4-min read
In this article:
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  • Sylvia Jeffreys
    Australian journalist
  • Jacqui Lambie
    Australian politician

The Today show's Sylvia Jeffreys and Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie broke down on the show this morning while speaking about the jumping castle tragedy that has claimed the lives of five children from the close-knit community of Devonport.

"I think we're still in shock. Like, you know, I'm sitting there doing a Zoom and I could see one child had gone, and then another... The numbers kept going up," Jacqui told Sylvia and David Campbell.

Today's Sylvia Jeffreys and David Campbell
Today's Sylvia Jeffreys became emotional as she spoke to a tearful Jacqui Lambie about the horrifying jumping castle tragedy in Devonport. Photo: Nine

"It is the most awful thing before Christmas time. Honestly. It is just... I just... I think we're all in shock. You don't even want to know about it. It is just awful."

Sylvia teared up as she described the tragedy as "gutting", saying: "Jacqui, I'm so sorry. We're so sorry".

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"And you know, those heavy hearts have felt right around the country but we cannot even begin to comprehend how people in Devonport, people like yourself who know people in Devonport are carrying this this morning. It's unthinkable and you know that there was a shot yesterday that emerged of two police officers sitting huddled together on the ground. I mean, that just says it all doesn't it how this is going to impact everyone in that town."

Jacqui responded: "Those police officers, you will probably find they are born and bred from there as well or from the local area.

"It is like family. It's just... It is just God-awful. I will be honest. It is just awful. I don't even want to pick up the phone. I know it's going to be somebody that we know, you know."

Tasmania Police say they're investigating to see if the jumping castle had been tethered to the ground at the time. Source: AAP
Tasmania Police say they're investigating to see if the jumping castle had been tethered to the ground at the time. Source: AAP

"We still don't know how the other four children are going that are still in hospital. Is there going to be more? It is just, just horrific! A week before Christmas time," she added.

David asked how people could help and Jacqui said there are a number of GoFundMe pages out there for the affected families. She stressed not to start any more pages, but to support the ones that are already running. 

"We are so sorry for what you are experiencing for what everyone in that community is experiencing this morning," Sylvia said. "It is inconceivable, absolutely inconceivable. And I mean, I've been trying to find words for it for the last 24 hours and I just simply think there are none. We are so sorry for the loss that everyone is experiencing there this morning." 

"This is really hard. It's a really hard morning," David shared. 

Jacqui Lambie is interviewed by David and Sylvia
Jacqui Lambie was clearly upset as she spoke of the tragedy. Photo: Nine

"It really is," Sylvia agreed. "Our thoughts and our prayers and our hearts are with everyone there in Devonport this morning and everyone like Jacqui, who is close to that beautiful, tight knit and strong community."

Hillcrest Primary School was holding a Big Day In event to celebrate the end of the year when a wind gust blew a jumping castle 10 metres into the air in a tragic accident.

There were also a number of children inside zorb balls, large inflatable balls, that also took off in the wind.

Police officers were seen consoling each other at the event with desperate parents trying to find out if their children were alive and well.

Five children have died and four are fighting for their lives in hospital after falling from a height of 10 metres.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described the accident as "unthinkably heartbreaking"

"Young children on a fun day out, together with their families and it turns to such horrific tragedy. At this time of year, it just breaks your heart," he said from the NSW Central Coast.

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