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Devonport jumping castle tragedy: ABC presenter Patricia Karvelas gasps upon hearing new death toll

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An ABC reporter gasped 'oh my god' live on air after discovering that four primary school kids had died in a jumping castle tragedy at a school fun day. 

Patricia Karvelas was presenting ABC's Afternoon Briefing on Thursday afternoon when her program was interrupted to cut to an urgent press conference in Tasmania.

Police were giving an update on a fatal incident at Hillcrest Primary School in Devonport, where several children were injured after a jumping castle flew 10 metres into the air from a freak gust of wind. 

Addressing the media, authorities announced the death toll had grown from two fatalities reported earlier in the day. 

'I can now sadly confirm four children have died and four are in a critical condition,' Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine told reporters. 

Patricia Karvelas (pictured) gasped live on air after hearing the Devonport jumping castle tragedy's death toll had risen to four 

After hearing the news, Karvelas, a mother of two, let out an emotion gasp - unaware her microphone was still on. 

'Oh my god,' she said in a sorrowful voice, as she watched the press conference from the newsroom.

Producers quickly picked up on the technology issue and switched her microphone off, preventing her voice from playing over the live cross. 

Karvelas later took to Twitter to share the heartbreaking news and address the on-air gaffe.

'Four children have died in Tasmania. This story is beyond my comprehension,' she wrote. 

'I think people heard me I apologise.'

Many followers told the journalist there was 'no need to apologise', praising her 'human' response to the devastating situation. 

Tasmania Police Commissioner Darren Hine (pictured) fronted a press conference on Thursday afternoon 

Two police officers console each other at Hillcrest Primary School, in Tasmania, after four children were killed when a jumping castle flew ten metres into the air 

Paramedics are pictured at Hillcrest Primary School, near Devonport in Tasmania. Four children have died and several others left in a critical condition after they fell from a jumping castle at the school

Fellow ABC reporter Michael Rowland commended his colleague for getting through the rest of her program. 

'Props to @PatsKarvelas for getting through that hour,' he Tweeted.

'Your reaction to that wrenching news was ours.'

Karvelas replied to his Tweet: 'I’m on my way now to my child’s grade 6 graduation heartbroken.' 

The horrific tragedy has rocked the tight knit Devonport, with investigations underway to determine how many children were on the jumping castle at the time. 

The victims, two boys and two girls, were Year 6 students. Five children in total are in hospital.

'On a day when these children were meant to be celebrating their last day of primary school, instead we're all mourning their loss,' Commissioner Hine said.

'Our hearts are breaking for the families and the loved ones, schoolmates, teachers of these young people who were taken too soon.'

Tasmania Police initially confirmed one child had died, before reporting a second death in the early afternoon.

Paramedics and police are pictured at a scene at Hillcrest Primary School after four children died in a jumping castle incident

'Several children fell from the jumping castle. It appears they may have fallen from a height of approximately 10 metres,' Commander Debbie Williams said at the scene earlier in the day.

'This is a very tragic event and our thoughts are with the families and the wider school community and also our first responders.

'This has been a very distressing and confronting scene.'

Several rescue helicopters were used to transport the children after police units and multiple ambulance crews rushed to the scene around 10am.

Police have indicated counselling will be available to families and the community.

The school announced on Facebook it was closing for the remainder of Thursday and asked parents to urgently collect their children.

Hillcrest Primary was holding a 'Big Day In' celebration to mark the end of the school year.

Bob Smith, who lives near the school, told The Mercury newspaper he saw kids on the ground.

Karvelas, a mother of two, later shared the heartbreaking news on Twitter

Colleague Michael Rowland commended Karvelas for getting through the rest of her program 

'There was one really strong gust of wind on what is a beautiful calm day,' he said.

'At first we thought it might have been an emergency services training exercise then the reality of what was happening kicked in.'

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein passed on his thoughts to the community.

'My thoughts are obviously with ... the parents of the children that have been injured and with the emergency services,' he said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison described the accident as unthinkably heartbreaking.

'Young children on a fun day out, together with their families and it turns to such horrific tragedy. At this time of year, it just breaks your heart,' he told reporters on the NSW Central Coast.

Hillcrest Primary School pictured.  'Several children fell from a height of about 10 metres about 10am,' a Tasmania Police spokesman said

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