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Coronial inquest begins into 2016 Dreamworld fatalities

Coronial inquest begins into 2016 Dreamworld fatalities
June 18, 2018

A Coronial inquest is set to commence on the Gold Coast this morning into the four fatalities that occurred on Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids in October 2016.

In advance of the two-week hearing, the opening of events has been accompanied by media reports that the failure of a large water pump on the ride led, within 15 seconds, to the failure of the ride and the four fatalities.

Families of the four victims are expected to attend the two-week hearing.

At a pre-inquest hearing in Brisbane in April, counsel assisting the inquiry Ken Fleming QC, said the group had almost completed the white water rafting ride without incident when one of two large pumps feeding the ride failed.

Within seconds the water levels plummeted and a raft in front of the victims' vessel was left stranded on a conveyor belt with the group being thrown from the ride when the two rafts collided.

Fleming told the court that the victims “were caught in the mechanism of the ride and were either trapped in the raft or ejected into the water beneath the conveyor.

"Each died almost instantly as a result of compressive and crushing injuries."

The family of Cindy Low, one of the victims, issued a statement at the initial court hearing and said they hoped the inquest will provide answers about why the tragedy happened.

The statement advised “our lives were turned upside down that day by the loss of Cindy.

"We have spent each week and month comforting each other and learning how to live without her."

Dreamworld closed the park for six weeks following the fatalities and has since permanently decommissioned the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Since the fatalities, the Queensland Government has passed industrial manslaughter laws, which mean corporations can be held accountable for deaths on site but they will not apply in this case, as they're not retrospective.

Coroner James McDougall will investigate the circumstances and cause of the fatal incident as well as construction, maintenance, safety measures, staffing, history and modifications of the ride.

The inquest will examine the sufficiency of the training provided to staff in operating the ride and if anything can be recommended to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring.

During the pre-inquest hearing, Fleming proposed the inquest be split into two parts, with the second expected to examine the regulatory environment and applicable standards by which amusement park rides operate in Queensland and Australia.

Lawyers for Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure have previously said they would cooperate with the inquest.

Image: Dreamworld's former Thunder River Rapids Ride. 

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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 www.ausleisure.com.au 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.

 

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