An injured survivor of the Tasmanian jumping castle tragedy has tucked into a pizza in hospital after being discharged from intensive care – as his uncle revealed how the boy ‘put up one hell of a fight’.
Declean Brown is one of two children now out of ICU at the Royal Hobart Hospital after being caught up in the accident at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport last week.
The disaster, which happened when the inflatable was lifted 10m into the air by a gust of wind, has claimed the lives of six school children.
His uncle David Best uploaded the photo online, saying his nephew had made a brave recovery from his injuries.
The photo showed a scar on Declean’s head, which had been partly shaved.
‘He has put up one hell of a fight and is now awake and has a long road ahead,’ Mr Best wrote in a Facebook post
Well done little dude and enjoy that requested pizza. So proud of you. Stay strong and see you soon.
‘My heart still breaks for the families that lost their loved ones.’
Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein on Thursday confirmed Declean and another child injured in the tragedy were in a stable condition
‘I’m certain that all Tasmanians will join me in sending their thoughts and wishes to their families at this time at what is no doubt a very difficult set of circumstances,’ he said.
‘But it’s pleasing and I know that we are all very thankful that they are out of ICU and are in a much better condition.’
The good news came on the same day as the first funeral for one of the six victims.
Zane Mellor, 12, was laid to rest at a service in Devonport on Thursday.
Peter Dodt, 12, Addison Stewart, 11, Jye Sheehan, 12 Jalailah Jayne-Marie Jones, 12, and Chace Harrison, 11, were the other children killed in the accident.
A week after the tragedy, hundreds of friends and relatives piled into the pews at local parish Mersey Gardens Chapel to say goodbye to Zane.
Mourners were told of how the young boy had a fondness for animals and gaming, and was known as ‘Jurassic Zane’ to his online network.
His coffin was decorated in Playstation controllers and had a poster of his favourite game Red Dead Redemption II hanging over it.
His devastated mother Georgie Gardam fought back tears as she read out a tribute to her first born child, standing near his small blue coffin decorated with white-painted gaming controllers.
‘My baby, where do I start,’ she began.
‘I was so young when I had you, only 15, and now I know why. You grew up with me, you held my hand.. You were my man of the house always, my protector, my strength, my gamer.’
‘I spoilt you rotten – Hawaiian pizza, McDonald’s… some of your favourites. Everyone told me to get you off that PlayStation but I let you play until your heart was content and your eyes got sleepy.
‘I love you Zane. No matter what the weather, we’re together. I love you Zaney.’
A heartbreaking slideshow of photos collected throughout Zane’s 12 years of life was played during the service, showing images of him fishing, gaming, riding on quad bikes and lovingly hugging his younger siblings.
Hours before the memorial, Ms Gardam penned a gut-wrenching post on social media describing how she was struggling to find strength as she braced to say her final goodbye to her son.
‘Today will be one of the hardest days of my life,’ she wrote.
‘What do I weigh up… the day I lost you or the day I put you to rest. I’m not sure.’
Zane’s farewell came a day after loved ones said goodbye to Jalailah Jayne-Maree in a service at local parish Church of Christ.
Jye Sheehan’s funeral meanwhile was held on Friday – with his friends and family gathering to celebrate his life.
Jye’s good mate Beau Medcraft, who survived the tragedy with minor injuries, also wrote a short tribute which was read out at the service.
‘You were my gaming wingman, we spent all our spare time playing Fortnite,’ Beau recalled.
‘Sometimes I’d put you on hold while I ate tea and forget you were there… I’d go out to the shops with mum, but you were always waiting for me when I came back.’
One very important loved one – Jye’s father Glen – was not able to make it to the service after waking from a coma to learn he is permanently disabled following an accident last month.
He remains in an intensive care unit at a Hobart Hospital, 280km away in the state’s south and woke to the heartbreaking news his little boy is dead.
Another classmate, Beau Medcraft, who miraculously escaped death visited the scene on Monday for the first time to pay respect to his peers.
With both arms in casts and his shoulder in a sling, Beau placed four Xbox controllers among the sea of flowers and cards left by families and members of the local community.