Four Killed In Accident At Dreamworld Theme Park
Dreamworld in Queensland, Australia remains closed until further notice after a devastating accident has resulted in four fatalities. At approximately 2:20 pm on Tuesday October 25, a raft on Thunder River Rapids water ride struck another raft just before entering the end of the rides conveyor. The impact caused the raft to flip and two people were thrown from the raft and two other people were trapped inside the ride. This is the worst theme park accident since the Smiler roller coaster accident at Alton Towers.
The victims have been identified as 32 yr-old Kate Goodchild, her 35 yr-old brother Luke Dorsett, his friend Roozi Araghi, 38 and a 42-year-old woman who remains unknown. The raft was just seconds from the end of the ride when the impact caused it to flip. Following the accident, Leah Capes, a witness, told The Gold Coast Bulletin: “The kids and people in there were screaming. It all happened so quickly. There were heaps of people crying, it all happened so fast.” Another witness said: “My sister and niece were on the ride, they are so traumatized, there is a woman hanging by her foot, crushed from the ride.”
The diagram below from the UK Telegraph explains how they think the accident happened. Authorities are still investigating the scene.
This is the view of the conveyor from within the ride. It’s also the last view the deceased passengers seen before flipping at the bottom of the conveyor.
Dreamworld is working with local authorities to determine the exact cause of the malfunction. Witnesses have reported that there had been problems with the ride earlier in the day when engineers were called in and drained the ride and refilled it before guests were allowed back onto the ride.
Typically regarded as a family friendly or “moderate thrill” attraction, the rapids ride lasts about four minutes and sends people down a water track at speeds of up to 28 miles an hour. Each carriage on the ride can hold up to six people; and passengers must be at least 48 inches tall or accompanied by an adult. It’s a typical canyon or rapids ride we see here in the states at just about every major theme park.
A father who had ridden the ride earlier in the day, Jesse Lovett expressed his concerns about ride safety stating that he felt unsafe holding his daughter on the ride and that the Velcro seat-belt did little to hold him in place. Sometimes we feel it’s better to be un-restricted on water rides in case they were to ever flip over. A media conference was held at the park following the accident.
This is the second time the park has been forced to close this year. In April, the park was shut down for a weekend after a man almost drowned in a similar ride. After investigation, that ride was reopened. Dreamworld released the following statement:
“Dreamworld is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts around the incident and is working closely with emergency authorities and police to do this.”
A Dreamworld spokesperson said the park is investigating the cause of the tragic accident and will remain closed until further notice. We here at Coaster Nation continue to keep the victims and their families in our thoughts.
After the accident, other parks are taking extra caution. Busch Gardens Tampa has preemptively closed down their Congo River Rapids attraction since their ride system the same is the same as Dreamworld’s. It’s a decision that was made for safety reasons, while they figure out what exactly went wrong in Australia.
Busch Gardens spokeswoman, Karen Varga-Sinka said:
“We have made the decision to close our Congo River Rapids ride while we work with other park operators and ride manufacturers to understand what happened in Australia. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved in the tragic incident at the Dreamworld park. The safety of guests and team members continues to be Busch Gardens’ number one priority. All ride attractions are inspected daily by trained technicians to ensure they are operating properly and meet all safety guidelines set forth by state agencies and well as the ride manufacturers.”
We continue to encourage everyone to still visit and support your local amusement parks. The chance of a fatal injury at a theme park is one in 1.5 billion [Source: CPSC]. By comparison, the chance of fatal injury in a car crash is almost 15 in 10,000 [Source: U.S. Department of Transportation]. You’re about twice as likely to suffer a shark attack as you are to sustain an injury at a theme park requiring a hospital stay. With that said, we still say theme park rides are incredibly safe.
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Below is the promotional video for Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapid Ride.