The Newsroom recounts the key facts of this week’s Dreamworld tragedy, which has dominated media headlines.
Four adults were killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned at the Gold Coast theme park on Tuesday about 2.30pm.
Initial reports said the victims were crushed and drowned at the end of the ride when the raft on which they were traveling crashed into another empty raft, flipping their vessel onto the moving conveyor belt.
Three of the victims were from one family, and had been visiting Queensland from Canberra for a family wedding: Roozbeh Araghi, 38, his partner Luke Dorsett, 35, and Luke’s sister Kate Goodchild, 32.
- The fourth victim is 42-year-old Cindy Low, a New Zealander from Sydney’s Central Coast holidaying with her 10-year-old son Keiran, who was on the ride with her. Ms Low made the fatal decision to ride in a separate raft to her husband Matthew and six-year-old daughter.
- Two children survived the accident after they were thrown clear of the raft: Ms Goodchild’s daughter, 12-year-old Ebony, and 10-year-old Keiran Low.
- Ms Goodchild’s husband David Turner was nursing eight-month-old daughter Evie when he saw the tragedy unfold. He managed to reach his partner of 33 years, who died in his arms while daughter Ebony looked on screaming in the background, David’s mother later told 9NEWS.
Plans by owners Ardent Leisure to reopen the park today after a memorial service were shelved yesterday, following widespread criticism. Police were concerned the re-opening would compromise their investigation of the accident site. The park will not be permitted to open its gates until Monday at the earliest. Meanwhile, all Dreamworld staff continue to be paid.
It has been revealed Roozbeh Araghi’s family was forced to call triple-0 and wait on line for one hour to get information from authorities after his death, saying no one contacted the family. Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd insisted police worked hard to identify the next of kin and advise them.
- Ardent Leisure’s CEO Deborah Thomas came under fire for her handling of the press conference at the annual general meeting on Thursday, where she falsely claimed the company had been in contact with the victims’ families. Following criticism, she later announced she was donating her $167,500 cash bonus to the victims’ families via the Red Cross.
- A fundraising page has been set up by Ms Goodchild’s and Mr Dorsett’s families, for counselling, education, childcare costs and housing. The fundraising page had raised $27,000 by Friday afternoon, with a goal of $50,000.
- Shayne Goodchild, the father of siblings Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, has thanked the public for their support in an emotional statement today. “Like everyone else in Australia we want to know what went wrong,” he told reporters in Canberra.
- Mourners have paid their respects to the victims by leaving flowers and notes outside Dreamworld, posts on social media, and attending candlelight vigils around the country.
- The Australian Workers Union said while they had expressed safety concerns about Dreamworld, these were unrelated to the Thunder Rapids ride. The park claimed the ride passed a safety inspection less than a month ago.
- It is the second incident at Dreamworld in six months after a man nearly drowned in April on the Rocky Hollow Log Ride, forcing a shut down and an investigation.
- This tragedy will be recorded as the worst Australian theme park disaster since 1979, when seven people died in a fire on the Ghost Train at Luna Park in Sydney.
Photo L-R of Roozbeh Aragi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low.