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Answers Demanded After Dreamworld Tragedy

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Answers Demanded After Dreamworld Tragedy
The Thunder River Rapids ride accident is still being investigated. Photo: Dan Peled / AAP

Investigations are continuing into Tuesday’s horrific accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.

Four people, two men and two women were killed when the ride reportedly flipped over after a mechanical malfunction. Two of the victims drowned when they were thrown from the ride, whilst the other two were trapped inside.

Reports have suggested that water flow pushed one raft into another, which resulted in one of the rafts tipping over. It’s also emerged that two children were thrown from the ride, but landed safely free from the water, but could only watch on in horror as the scene before them unfolded.

The Thunder River Rapids ride first opened in 1986, and on Dreamworld’s website it’s listed as a Family Ride, with a moderate thrill rating.

Evidence has also emerged of possible negligence on behalf of Dreamworld, regarding maintenance standards and complaints lodged.

According to Victoria Craw of news.com.au, Dreamworld’s parent company, Ardent Leisure attempted to block the release of over 100 pages of information relating to ride safety and inspections earlier this year. It included a report that declared the, Thunder River Rapids ride was “not fit for service”. It appears more than likely that the theme park, will face a litany of court charges and compensation claims over the coming months.

Dreamworld was slated to re-open Friday morning, but those plans have since been shelved. A released statement said,”Dreamworld has been advised by Queensland Police Service that we are unable to proceed with tomorrow’s memorial service as planned.”

“Obviously the integrity of the coronial investigation is of paramount importance and postponing the service will give QPS the time it needs to conduct this investigation.”

The Queensland Police Service did however make it clear that any decision to re-open the park, would ultimately lie with Dreamworld management.

Queensland State Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk also attracted controversy for remarks made regarding Dreamworld’s status moving forward. Palaszczuk said, “We’ve got to get to the bottom of this because we don’t want anything to jeopardize the Gold Coast as a world class tourist destination.”

With summer just around the corner, the Gold Coast’s peak tourism weeks will come with it. Dreamworld will be hard pressed to give a satisfactory explanation for Tuesday’s events, that restores confidence in their brand. Considering the scale and scope of this tragedy, Dreamworld’s biggest challenge may not be a financial or legal issue, but one of trust and forgiveness.

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Australian Sports Journalist. Writing and talking about the sports that I was never talented enough to play!