Dreamworld inquiry wraps
The inquest into the deaths of four tourists at Dreamworld has ended.
With the park operator’s reputation in tatters, the inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother, Luke Dorsett, and his partner, Roozi Araghi, on the Thunder River Rapids ride on 25 October 2016 is now complete.
Three of the four people were thrown into a mechanised conveyor after a water pump failed and their floating raft collided with another, causing it to partially flip.
Panicked staff crucially delayed stopping the ride, causing the jammed raft to be shaken, and a fourth person to fall into the machinery.
Ms Goodchild’s 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low’s 10-year-old son survived the disaster.
The inquest unveiled a litany of problems.
A review of Dreamworld’s training systems revealed staff operating the ride had been given only 90 minutes of training.
A memo sent to Dreamworld staff days before the tragedy warned that the emergency stop button was only to be pushed in certain circumstances.
Dreamworld had stopped spending money on repairs and maintenance in the months before the fatal accident, with monthly expenditure at the park hitting $125,000 over budget on a year-to-date basis.
“Revenue is up but profit is down, cutbacks are now being enforced,” a document handed to the inquiry stated.
“Repairs and maintenance spending needs to stop, only CAPEX (capital expenditure).”
Dreamworld staff admitted a “total failure” to identify risks with the ride and respond to equipment failures before the accident.
Evidence from Police showed multiple safety recommendations were made but not implemented, including installing automatic sensors to detect falling water levels or a total shutdown switch.
The ride was criticised for deficient maintenance, extensive cracking and corrosion. Parts of the structure were even “propped up with timber”.
Workplace Health and Safety engineers said significant alterations to the ride had made the ride “more hazardous”.
Gary Weiss of Ardent Leisure, which owns Dreamworld, issued a statement.
“Our thoughts remain with the victims’ families and everyone who has been affected by this terrible tragedy,” it said.
Coroner James McDougall will hand down his findings next year.