Teammates of the sixth child who died after a freak gust of wind blew a jumping castle 10 metres into the air have left basketballs outside their homes in a moving tribute to the talented young player.
On Sunday afternoon, Chace Harrison’s family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off his life support at Royal Hobart Hospital – three days after the devastating accident at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport.
Hours after Tasmanian police commissioner Darren Hine formally announced the tragic death, tributes for the 11-year-old flooded social media from sports groups to say he was a gifted athlete with a bright future.
‘Thinking of the Harrison families and friends, and those from the Devonport Warriors Basketball Club tonight,’ one woman wrote, with a photo of a basketball and candle she placed outside her home for the youngster.
Basketball Tasmania wrote a heartwarming Facebook post to say Chace was selected for the BTAS Future Development Program – a highly competitive and elite program that identifies and trains talented young basketball players.
‘One of our own members from the basketball family has passed away,’ the post read.
‘Chace Harrison was a much loved member of the Devonport Warriors and also a previous athlete in the BTAS Future Development Program.
‘Our thoughts and prayers are with the Harrison family and everyone else that has been involved in this devastating incident.’
Penguin Basketball Association also wrote a post for their ‘fellow baller’.
‘It has been a heartbreaking week for Tasmania,’ the post read.
‘We have all felt the pain and anguish of the tragic events at Hillcrest Primary.’
‘Today saw the passing of Chace Harrison…a fellow baller. We send our deepest sympathy to Chace’s loved ones and his Devonport Warriors basketball family.’
One woman commented: ‘We all have Chace in our hearts.’
The youngster was also described as a ‘future champion’ in a tribute from Devonport Christian School – where he was enrolled to go to school next year.
‘It is with deepest sadness that we mourn the passing of Chace Harrison. These last few days have been extremely difficult for all in Devonport and now today it is significantly heavier, as we lose one of our future champions,’ the post read.
‘Chace, DCS was greatly looking forward to you commencing as a student next year. To us you are part of our community and will be forevermore. You have many special friends at DCS and we will remember you.’
In the comments, one woman recalled meeting the ‘excited’ 11-year-old at orientation.
Tasmanian premier Peter Gutwein said on Sunday that Chace’s family are traumatised, but agreed to allow authorities to release his name.
‘We have offices there with them and to make sure they can travel back to Devonport safely, so we have a support mechanism to help them deal with this unbelievable and traumatic situation,’ he said.
The state leader also explained there were more than 40 Year 5 and 6 children at the graduation celebration on Thursday morning.
‘We know it is difficult for those involved so we want to make sure we have the best services interview all those children who are affected,’ he said.
‘We have to do it in a sensitive manner, and we have accepted the offer of NSW Police to accept their assistance.’
Hundreds of floral bouquets line a hill in front of the school fence near where the accident happened, along with soft toys and emotional written tributes.
The entire side of the footpath became a shrine dedicated to remembering the students who were lost.
The state’s education department has now banned all state schools from using jumping castles while the investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Tasmania’s Education Department confirmed they have ‘put a hold on the use of jumping castle-style equipment until the results of the investigation are known’.