Australia remembers the child victims of the bouncy castle tragedy

LONDON (AP) Christmas revelers across Europe are now laying low and changing plans because of new restrictions and fears about the omicron coronavirus. This raises concerns about another holiday season being lost for airlines, restaurants, and shops already affected by the pandemic.

Australia remembers the child victims of the bouncy castle tragedy

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The Christmas lights were turned off in Sydney and a candlelight vigil took place in the Australian town where five children lost their lives after falling from a bouncy house that was lifted by wind.

Three children were still in critical conditions in the hospital, and one child was released following Thursday's incident in Tasmania. Three boys aged 11-12 were among the victims, as well as two girls.

The Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport was celebrating the end to the school year with a bouncy castle that was almost 10 meters (1033 feet) high.

The township of around 25,000 people has come together to support the victims' families and the larger community surrounding the school that was the victim of the accident.

On Thursday night, a candlelight vigil took place outside the school. Some residents also turned off their Christmas lights in respect for the victims.

Annette Rockliff, mayor of Devonport, said that the tragedy would "undoubtedly rock a close-knit community long term."

"As mayor, my heart breaks for my community. I feel rocked to my core as a mother and grandmother. Rockliff said that what should have been a joyful and joyous day for the end of the school year ended in an unimaginable manner. He added that the Australian flag would fly at half-staff above the town hall.

Tasmania Premier Peter Gutwein described it as "utterly devastating and heartbreaking."

Melissa, a local supermarket worker, was one of those who placed flowers outside the school. She said that her children attended the school many years ago.

She said, "It's almost impossible." After hearing the details, it was almost impossible to believe that this happened at work yesterday.