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Ardent Leisure shares fall after critical Coroner’s report into Dreamworld tragedy
Shares in Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure fell sharply yesterday following the Queensland Coroner handing down a damning verdict on the deaths of four guests killed on the theme park’s Thunder River Rapids Ride tragedy in October 2016.
In trading during the day, shares fell in the ASX-listed company fell 15.2% to $1.195 before closing down further at $1.18.
While scheduled to present Dreamworld’s reaction at a press conference this morning, Dreamworld Chief Executive, John Osborne addressed the media after Coroner James McDougall delivered the findings into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.
Coroner McDougall cited “shoddy record keeping” and the lack of a competent person to conduct risk assessment contributed to the 2016 tragedy.
As a result, the company has been referred to the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations for possible prosecution over the 2016 tragedy.
Ardent’s share price fall also comes in the wake of poor results announced by the company on Friday.
The company revealed that Dreamworld had still not fully recovered from the impact of the death and was unlikely to break even for the second half of the financial year despite a strong Christmas trading period.
In a statement this morning, Osborne (who joined Ardent Leisure last year), said the company would take time to review the Coroner’s findings, advising “Ardent Leisure, owner and operator of Dreamworld, has received the Coroner’s findings and recommendations released today, 24th of February 2020, following the coronial inquest into the Thunder River Rapids Ride tragedy on the 25th of October 2016.
“First and foremost, we express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low. Our thoughts are also with the first responders, emergency services personnel, investigators, counsellors and Dreamworld team members affected by this tragedy.
“We would like to acknowledge the attendance and involvement of the families, witnesses and all other participants in the inquest process, as well as the Coroner and his team.
“We will now review the Coroner’s report in detail.”
Speaker to reporters, Osborne later added “it is impossible to understand how the families feel and I can only imagine the heartache the families have felt. I hope that now the coroner’s report has been finalised that this will go some way towards furthering the healing process for the families and all those impacted by the tragedy.”
Osborne, along with Ardent Leisure Chairman, Gary Weiss (who was not on the board at the time of the fatalities), is due to host a press conference at Dreamworld this morning.
Image: The Thunder River Rapids Ride in operation at Dreamworld prior to the October 2016 fatalities.
24th February 2020 - AALARA highlights Australian theme parks’ ongoing safety commitments
8th February 2020 - Dreamworld permanently closes Rocky Hollow Log Ride
7th February 2020 - Dreamworld enjoys successful peak season
17th October 2019 - Ardent Leisure raises Dreamworld ticket costs
27th August 2019 - Ardent Leisure looks to shrinking of Dreamworld’s footprint for development
8th April 2019 - Ardent Leisure borrows $225 million for attractions investment
13th March 2019 - Ardent Leisure shares hit seven-year low
22nd February 2019 - Ardent Leisure losses rise as guests fail to return to Dreamworld
22nd November 2018 - Ardent Leisure reveals theme park investment strategy
22nd August 2018 - Ardent Leisure losses grow as Dreamworld’s value declines by $75 million
30th June 2018 - Ardent Leisure issues statement of apology over Dreamworld deaths
26th February 2018 - Ardent Leisure cuts losses, announces new Main Event Chief Executive
29th September 2017 - Gary Weiss takes on Chairman’s role at Ardent Leisure
10th June 2017 - Deborah Thomas departs Ardent Leisure
9th February 2017 - Dreamworld tragedy causes dive in Ardent Leisure revenue
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