Latest News

Back to Latest News back


Coroner seeks to have Dreamworld inquest extended

Coroner seeks to have Dreamworld inquest extended
October 16, 2018

The Coroner heading the inquiry into the October 2016 fatalities at Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld is seeking to have the hearings extended by a week so as to avoid them dragging on into the New Year.

After a two-week block of sittings in June, the inquest resumed last week for a further two weeks.

Another two weeks has been set aside for mid-November.

However, as of today Coroner James McDougall proposed adding an additional week to run from 17th to 21st December in Brisbane.

He said the full week may not be required but he would like the evidence to be completed by Christmas instead of dragging on into 2019.

The Coronial inquiry has today heard that the rafts on the Thunder River Rapids regularly took on too much water but that a manager told staff a proposal to shut down the ride for 30 minutes to drain water-logged rafts during the day would be like “World War Three”.

The Dreamworld Inquest was today shown an email from Attractions Manager Andrew Fyfe discussing problems with the Thunder River Rapids as the rafts were taking on too much water.

He said park technicians had suggested taking the ride offline for 30 minutes during the day to drain the rafts but that would start ‘World War III.’

The Thunder River Rapids was the most popular ride at Dreamworld and the inquest has been told guests would get angry or frustrated if it was not operating.

The inquiry also heard that Dreamworld Engineering Supervisor Scott Ritchie had proposed a comprehensive safety upgrade of the doomed Thunder River Rapids ride more than a year before the tragedy.

Ritchie wrote an email in August 2015, 14 months before the October 2016 disaster, detailing a proposal for a $10,000 upgrade of the ride’s operator control panel that would “future proof this system for years to come”.

He wrote “the existing operator controls have been adapted and added to over many years and are in a poor state.”

Ritchie proposed installing a water level monitor as one of his recommended upgrades, but that never happened.

The absence of a water level monitor was blamed as the main cause of the tragedy, according to a Workplace Health and Safety audit conducted after the disaster.

The inquiry was also advised of an email sent to Dreamworld management by a union official claiming staff preferred to cover up mistakes as they feared being sacked.

During Tuesday’s sitting of an inquest in to the Thunder River Rapids disaster in 2016, Coroner James McDougall was shown an email from Andrew Fyfe replying to concerns raised by a union delegate.

Referring to a near-miss on the ride in 2014, Fyfe wrote he was “both alarmed and compelled to hear your comments about staff preferring to cover up mistakes in the hope they would not face termination”.

Related Articles

15th October 2018 - Dreamworld inquest told $3,000 water level sensor would have prevented tragedy

12th October 2018 - Dreamworld inquest delay as Ardent Leisure accused of being slow to hand over documents

11th October 2018 - Paramedics describe horrific scene after Dreamworld Thunder River Rapids incident

9th October 2018 - Staff to sue Dreamworld over ‘significant psychological injuries’

8th October 2018 - Reopened Dreamworld inquest hears ‘everybody’ failed to ensure ride’s safety prior to fatalities

22nd August 2018 - Ardent Leisure losses grow as Dreamworld’s value declines by $75 million

16th August 2018 - Queensland Government regulators left inspections of fatal ride up to Dreamworld

1st July 2018 - Coronial inquest claims Dreamworld Chief Executive

30th June 2018 - Ardent Leisure issues statement of apology over Dreamworld deaths

29th June 2018 - Dreamworld ride ‘should not have been in service’ at time of four guest fatalities

28th June 2018 - Inquest advised that Dreamworld ride had ‘rat’s nest’ of wiring before October 2016 fatalities

25th June 2018 - Inquest evidence causing ‘irretrievable’ damage to Dreamworld’s reputation

23rd June 2018 - Victims’ family ‘devastated and horrified’ by evidence at Dreamworld inquest

21st June 2018 - Inquest hears Dreamworld ride operator ‘pressured’ not to talk to Police after fatalities

10th December 2016 - Guests trickle back as Dreamworld reopens

Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.


supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all


Intelligenz provides Leisure Management Software for managing all your Program Registrations, Facility Bookings, Membership Sales and POS Transactions; including detailed Reporting, automated…

read more

Access / Billing / Finance / Marketing / Technology



Hidroplay welcomes you to the exciting world of children's Playscapes, waterslide's and Water Attractions. Appealing to families, Hidroplay increases patronage in your facility during those…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Recreation



SPORTENG specialises in the Planning, Design and Construction inspection of Fields of Play for all sports. Blending engineering with the specialist knowledge gained from working closely with sport…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces / Venues


Augmented Creative

Augmented Creative is an open organization of like-minded and highly dedicated, creative people who conceive, plan and execute visual solutions. We pursue new and innovative visual ideas to help…

read more

Arts / Attractions / Consultants / Design / Tourism



The Fitness Generation is now part of NovoFit - see

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness


TicketSearch Pty Ltd

TicketSearch is focused on providing businesses, organisations, and venues with affordable, efficient, and powerful self-managed ticketing solutions. The organisation has offices in Australia, New…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Technology / Ticketing / Venues


Smart Connection Consultancy

Smart Connection Consultancy is a boutique sport and recreation consultancy who has become one of Australia’s leading advocates for the use of synthetic sports surfaces as a vehicle to grow…

read more

Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Surfaces



At easyemployer we've come up with a software solution that manages one of your most important, and often most costly, business resources - your staff. We are helping 100s of clients to…

read more

Finance / Fitness / Technology


get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business