Schoolboy who survived the jumping castle disaster that killed six of his classmates speaks for the first time about the tragedy and missing his best friend: ‘I message him on Xbox’
- Beau Medcraft, now 14, survived tragedy
- Six children died in inflatable disaster
- He says he ‘misses’ his best friend
A student who narrowly survived Tasmania’s jumping castle tragedy that killed six of his classmates has spoken out for the first time, saying he has ‘survivor’s guilt’.
Beau Medcraft, now 14, suffered two broken arms and a shattered wrist after he fell 10 metres from an inflatable bouncing castle that got caught up in a ‘mini-tornado’ during a graduation celebration at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania in December, 2021.
Speaking about the tragedy for the first time, Beau said that he remembers seeing the jumping castle ‘torn up’ and revealed how he desperately misses his best friend who died in the accident.
Beau Medcraft, now 14, suffered two broken arms and a shattered wrist after he fell 10 metres from a bouncing castle that got caught up in a ‘mini-tornado’ during a graduation celebration at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania in December, 2021
‘Got to school, basically all happy, told mum that I was going to have the best day ever,’ Beau told the ABC.
‘I broke my growth plate, and my wrist and my arm and then I fractured this whole arm,’ he said.
He had entered the castle with his best friend, so looked around for him when a mini-tornado suddenly swept the inflatable into the air.
‘He’d took off in the jumping castle and he landed somewhere else. He’s not here today,’ Beau said.
Flowers and messages of support are seen at the one year commemoration ceremony of the Hillcrest Primary School tragedy
Zane Mellor, 12, Jye Sheehan, 12, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones, 12, Peter Dodt, 12, Addison Stewart, 11, and Chace Hamilton, 11, were killed in the disaster – but Beau somehow managed to walk away. He and two other children were seriously injured.
Heartbreakingly, Beau added that he ‘wanted to be with his best mate’ and wonders why he’s here and his classmates aren’t.
Speaking of his best friend, he added: ‘[We] played Xbox every night, he had arguments with mum and everything, trying to get me to stay on,’
‘I message him on Xbox and have conversations with myself,’ he said.
Zane Mellor, 12, Peter Dodt, Addison Stewart, Chace Harrison, Jalailah Jayne-Maree Jones and Jye Sheehan (pictured clockwise from top left) were also killed when a freak gust of wind blew the inflatable 10 metres into the air
Beau’s mother Tammy Medcraft added that she would ‘never forget’ the moment the school rang to tell her his son had broken his arm.
She travelled to the school to pick up Beau, completely unaware of the tragedy, when she saw police cars, helicopters and ambulances on the school grounds.
Tammy found her son sitting inside with one of the other parents, and rang her husband John to tell her they needed to take Beau to the hospital to ‘put his wrists back in place’.
John said that the phone call was ‘absolutely horrible’ as they were still trying to put together what had happened, getting updates from TV and radio.
Flowers, soft toys and tributes are seen outside Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, Tasmania in December, 2021
‘When we sort of found out the severity of it, I was about to pull a dirt bike out of the shed, or my buggy or something, to get to where I needed to go,’ John said.
‘But because I had no way of getting there I just waited until Tammy said that we had to get him to Burnie [hospital], so I said ‘Righto, get back home and I’ll get you to Burnie’.’
Tammy said she’s also dealt with survivor’s guilt, that her son lived and others didn’t.
Australians raised $1.4 million for the families of the victims, although it wasn’t released to families until March, 2022.
As a result of the tragedy several organisations banned the use of all inflatables on their properties, including the Tasmanian Department of Education.
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