Sixth child dies following Devonport tragedy

A sixth child has died following the tragic incident at a primary school in Devonport on Thursday.

“It is with a heavy heart that I can confirm an 11-year-old boy passed away in hospital this afternoon,” said Commissioner Darren Hine.

“His name is Chace Harrison.”

“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.”

Nine children were seriously injured in Thursday’s incident. Six children have now died. Two children remain in critical conditions in the Royal Hobart Hospital. Another is now recovering at home.

Commissioner Hine said the investigation will take some time.

“We are working tirelessly with all parties concerned to ensure the extensive investigation is completed as a matter of priority for the Coroner,” he said.

“The investigation is being led by Devonport Criminal Investigation Branch, with assistance from officers from Launceston CIB, under the direction of the Coroner.

“Their priority will be to interview all witnesses, gather and analyse forensic evidence and all environmental aspects, including weather patterns and conditions at the time of the incident.

“Given the magnitude of this critical incident and the need to speak to a large number of traumatised children within a short period of time, we have accepted an offer from NSW Police to assist in conducting interviews in relation to the investigation.”

“Four forensic child interviewers will travel to Tasmania today to help conduct interviews with young witnesses over the coming days.

“It is paramount we don’t pre-empt any outcome until all evidence is gathered and the investigation is complete,” Commissioner Hine said.

“This will allow the Coroner to determine the findings based on all the available evidence and facts.”

“Community recovery arrangements are in place, and our thoughts continue to be with the families, loved ones and all those affected by this tragedy.”

“The loss of six young lives will be felt by our community for a long time – so please take care of yourselves and those around you.”

For anyone in need of assistance, there is a range of 24-hour support services available:

• Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800

• Mental Health Services Helpline – 1800 332 388

• Beyond Blue – 1300 224 636

• Lifeline – 13 11 14