The mother of one of the children who died in the jumping castle tragedy has revealed that she has been separated from her son for almost a year because of border closures.
Miranda McLaughlin, mother of 11-year-old Peter Dodt who tragically died in last week’s jumping castle accident at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania, revealed in an interview that she was finally able to see her son and two daughters last week after almost a year apart.
Ms McLaughlin travelled to Tasmania from her home in Adelaide to visit her children, who live with their father, after the state reopened its border to fully vaccinated domestic travellers.
Ms McLaughlin told the Daily Mail, “Peter was full of life, always making people smile with his antics. His heart was bigger than the world. Words cannot explain what a beautiful soul he was or the loss we feel without him, forever in our hearts.”
Peter was killed in the accident along with classmates Jye Sheehan, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, Zane Mellor, Addison Stewart and Chace Harrison. Two children are still in hospital, while one is recovering at home. Chace passed away in hospital over the weekend, with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutewin telling reporters, “I am certain all Tasmanians share with me a deep sadness and heartache that young Chace Harrison, another child involved in this terrible tragedy, has now passed away.
“I know that our community, which is so connected, will be deeply saddened, for the family involved and indeed all the families of the now six children who have lost their lives.”
Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine said the investigation into the incident, conducted in conjunction with WorkSafe Tasmania, was ongoing, and would take some time. He told reporters on Sunday, “We are working tirelessly with all parties concerned to ensure the extensive investigation is completed as a matter of priority for the coroner.
“Their priority will be to interview all witnesses, gather and analyse forensic evidence at all in biomedical aspects including weather patterns and conditions of the time of this incident.”
Tasmanian Police have accepted an offer of help from NSW Police, and four forensic child interviewers will travel to Devonport over the coming days in order to assist in interviewing the traumatised children who were present on the day.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced on Sunday that $800,000 will be made available for first responders and members of the community to receive trauma counselling. Over a million dollars has also been raised in the community to support those in mourning.
Image: Tasmania Police
This article first appeared on Over60.