Dreamworld ride broke down twice in hours before fatal accident, inquest told

18 Juin, 2018, 17:31 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Dreamworld ride broke down twice in hours before fatal accident, inquest told

The inquest has been told it was very noisy working in the unloading section of the Thunder River Rapids Ride and clear sight between workers was hard.

An inquest into the Dreamworld tragedy in which four people were killed on a family-friendly ride is set to begin on the Gold Coast today.

Lead police investigator Detective Sergeant Nicola Brown said the water pump on the ride had stopped working twice in the hours leading up to the fatal incident.

Detective Sergeant Brown told the court two operators managed the ride and there was a stop button on the main control panel.

She said few, if any, of those recommendations appeared to be acted upon.

But she said an emergency stop button at the unload area of the ride was created to halt the conveyor immediately.

Detective Sergeant Brown said the young ride operator closest to the incident had to signal to an operator at the control room, which cost crucial seconds.

The coroner heard that in 2001 one of the ride's rafts flipped during the "dry run" at the start of the day and no-one was on board.

A police investigation uncovered several other unsafe incidents on the ride.

"I shudder when I think if there had been guests on that ride", said Fleming, quoting an email between Dreamworld staff after the 2001 incident.

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Mr Fleming told the inquest the fatalities in 2016 happened on "what was one of, if not the most, popular ride built as suitable and safe for the whole family".

Det Sgt Brown said the third failure just after 2pm resulted in the water level near the unloading point of the ride dropping "significantly and quite quickly".

It was also revealed the ride had no device to monitor water levels and provide a warning or shut down if levels became too low.

Mr Fleming: "The only way it could be done is by operator intervention?"

Detective Sergeant Brown also told the inquest that staff with different levels of experiences were told different information about the stop buttons.

"It's not an exaggeration to say this [disaster] has been felt Australia-wide", counsel assisting the inquest, Ken Fleming QC, said in his opening remarks.

The court heard the victims were "forcibly propelled" colliding with the stationary raft.

It is set to be held in two parts, beginning with a two week hearing at Southport Courthouse where more than 50 witnesses are expected to be called.

"This will be a hard time for many, our hearts and thoughts remain with the families and all those affected by the tragedy", the company said in a statement.

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