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Dreamworld ride operator ‘distressed’ over inquest role

Dreamworld ride operator ‘distressed’ over inquest role
June 22, 2018

A young ride operator working at Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld when a ride malfunction led to the deaths of four people in October 2016 is reportedly "highly distressed" after giving evidence at Coronial inquest this week, saying she "would have done everything I could have" to help the victims.

Courtney Williams was one of two people running the ride and had been given 90 minutes of training on her first day rostered on the Thunder River Rapids ride in October 2016 when two rafts collided and the group was thrown to their deaths.

An inquest on the Gold Coast is investigating the deaths of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.

Williams' barrister Peter Callaghan told the court his client was "highly distressed" and not in a good emotional state after revisiting the tragedy while giving evidence earlier this week.

On Wednesday, Williams told the court she would not have pressed the emergency button within reach of her to stop the conveyor from moving, because she was not trained to do so.

As reported by the ABC, Williams told the hearing that she had arrived for her shift at 9:15am on 25th October 2016, and was told she was rostered as a level two operator - a role that she had not performed before and for which she was given "about an hour and a half" of training.

Williams told the inquest she had not remembered being shown how to shut down the ride and said she was told by a trainer about the emergency stop button who said, "don't worry about it, you don't need to use it".

She said she "didn't know" the emergency button would stop the conveyor from moving.

Williams stated "it was my first day, I wasn't confident operating the control panel.”

Yesterday, Williams clarified her testimony, adding "I would have done everything I could have" to help the victims.

Barrister Peter Callaghan said Williams was "mortified" to think she could have upset the family members.

Senior ride operator Timothy Williams later told the hearing that he had not participated in any emergency drills or simulations since the fatalities in 2016.

He told the court “there has been talk and plans of doing it but not as yet that I'm aware of.”

Mr Williams said operators were now rostered 15 minutes earlier to attend daily briefings run by supervisors to discuss any ongoing issues at the park.

Earlier, Mr Williams told the court today there was "no scenario training" from Dreamworld to deal with an event of rafts being stranded on a conveyor belt.

Mr Williams said he was working on the ride prior to the fatalities, when a large water pump feeding it failed.

He told the court there were rafts on the course and one on the conveyor at the time, and the operators initiated a normal shutdown procedure.

Counsel assisting the coroner Ken Fleming QC asked “did you consider this to be an emergency.”

Williams replied "no.”

Mr Williams was asked by Coroner James McDougall about a memo sent to staff about a week prior to the fatalities directing employees not to push an emergency e-stop button unless the main control panel could not be reached.

Mr Williams said "I felt that the language was a bit restrictive.”

Coroner McDougall asked “so negative as opposed to positive, is that fair enough?" coroner James McDougall asked.

Williams replied "yes.”

The Court heard there was no alarm to signal when a pump had malfunctioned on the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Timonty Williams was asked by Fleming how he would detect safe water levels on the ride.

He replied “just a stain on the wall.”

Image shows the Thunder River Rapids ride in operation at Dreamworld prior to October 2016. 

19th June 2018 - DREAMWORLD INQUEST HEARS THAT RIDE STAFF WERE TOLD NOT TO ‘WORRY ABOUT’ EMERGENCY STOP BUTTON

18th June 2018  - CORONIAL INQUEST BEGINS INTO 2016 DREAMWORLD FATALITIES

3rd April 2018 - VICTIMS OF DREAMWORLD RIDE ‘DIED ALMOST INSTANTLY’ 

11th March 2018 - DREAMWORLD DEMOLISHES THUNDER RIVER RAPIDS RIDE

16th October 2017 - QUEENSLAND PARLIAMENT PASSES INDUSTRIAL MANSLAUGHTER LAWS IN WAKE OF DREAMWORLD FATALITIES

29th September 2017 - GARY WEISS TAKES ON CHAIRMAN’S ROLE AT ARDENT LEISURE

14th September 2017 - DREAMWORLD TO REMOVE MOUNTAIN SURROUNDING ITS EUREKA MOUNTAIN MINE RIDE

27th August 2017 - DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY HIGHLIGHTS LEGAL DUTY OF CARE FOR THEME PARK GUESTS

14th August 2017 - SUMMIT LOOKS TO ENHANCE INDUSTRY COMMUNICATION, AWARDS RECOGNISE MARKETING EXCELLENCE

26th July 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE SHAREHOLDER ARIADNE CALLS FOR $25 MILLION IN NEW ATTRACTIONS AT DREAMWORLD

20th July 2017 - SUMMIT DELEGATES TO BE EQUIPPED WITH SKILLS TO COMMUNICATE IN A CRISIS

13th July 2017 - ENTRIES OPEN FOR SECOND LEISURE INDUSTRY COMMUNICATION AND MARKETING AWARDS

29th June 2017 - INDUSTRY SUMMIT TO EQUIP PROFESSIONALS WITH ESSENTIAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS 

4th April 2017 - ARDENT LEISURE CHIEF EXECUTIVE ‘APPEARED TO BE DUCKING FOR COVER’ FOLLOWING DREAMWORLD FATALITIES 

15th December 2011 - DREAMWORLD CELEBRATES 30TH BIRTHDAY 

29th October 2011 - PRICE WAR HITS REVENUE AT ARDENT ATTRACTIONS 


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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.

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