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Dreamworld inquest told $3,000 water level sensor would have prevented tragedy
The Coronial inquest into the deaths of four people at Dreamworld in October 2016 was today told that the fatalities would have been prevented by the installation of a water level sensor during previous safety upgrade works.
The inquest was shown a report by Safety Related Control Systems that concluded the lack of a water level sensor on the ride was the “primary cause” of the incident.
Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner, Roozi Araghi died in October 2016 when a water pump on the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned, resulting in two rafts colliding and flipping.
The inquest at Southport Coroners court has already heard reduced water levels due to the failed pump contributed significantly to the tragedy.
Today the inquest heard Dreamworld had commissioned Products for Industry (PFI) to undertake a safety upgrade on the 30-year-old ride.
The upgrade, completed in February 2016 with some additional works in March of that year, cost about $19,000. It did not include the installation of a water level sensor, which was being investigated for a second stage of the upgrade.
The second stage was never given a start date before the tragedy.
The report stated “the primary cause of the tragic incident was the lack of a suitable safety rated water level detection system interfaced to the upgraded conveyor system.
“Such a safety system could easily have been provided and at a minimal cost.”
The report advised that if a water level sensor had been installed at the same time as the other upgrades in February and March it would have cost between $2,000 and $3,000.
PFI electrical engineer Matthew Sullivan agreed when asked if it would have been possible to install a water sensor on the ride.
An electrician had been booked in to fix the ailing water pump on the ride two days after the tragedy that killed four people, because the problem “didn’t sound urgent’.
Electrician Michael Takac, who worked on a section of the pumps that failed on the day of the tragedy, was booked in to inspect the machinery.
Takac, who works for the company Applied Electro that has maintained a number of Dreamworld’s rides since 2011, told the inquest he had been booked in to specifically work on the variable speed drives (VSDs) that powered the Thunder River Rapids water pumps.
On 15th June 2016, Takac headed to Dreamworld to conduct his annual check on the VSDs but was unable to complete the job. He was unable to do a full test run of both VSDs because the ride’s south pump was down for maintenance.
He finished the rest of his annual checklist and claims staff at Dreamworld told him “look, it’s running, the device is fine”.
Takac told the inquest “so, we left it.”
Four months later, the south pump would malfunction on the Thunder River Rapids ride again, causing the water level to drop and the raft to flip.
Image: Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride in operation prior to the October 2016 fatalities.
9th October 2018 - Staff to sue Dreamworld over ‘significant psychological injuries’
27th August 2018 - Dreamworld looks to attract visitors with entry fee drop and LEGO exhibition
22nd August 2018 - Ardent Leisure losses grow as Dreamworld’s value declines by $75 million
30th July 2018 - Ride fatalities aftermath continues to drive down Dreamworld’s value
11th March 2018 - Dreamworld demolishes Thunder River Rapids ride
25th January 2018 - Dreamworld reopens popular water ride
20th December 2017 - Ardent Leisure sells bowling centres division for $160 million
21st October 2017 - Queensland Police say no staff should be prosecuted over 2016 Dreamworld deaths
29th September 2017 - Gary Weiss takes on Chairman’s role at Ardent Leisure
25th October 2016 - Four killed in tragic incident on Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride
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