Dreamworld inquiry: Emergency button could have stopped deaths

The press of an emergency stop button could have prevented the deaths of four people at Australia's Dreamworld theme ...

Posted: Jun 19, 2018 12:42 PM
Updated: Jun 19, 2018 12:42 PM

The press of an emergency stop button could have prevented the deaths of four people at Australia's Dreamworld theme park, an inquest has heard.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died after being thrown from a raft on the Thunder River Rapids Ride, following a operating system malfunction in October 2016.

Low's son and Goodchild's daughter, aged 10 and 12 respectively, were also on the raft, but survived the accident.

Detective Sergeant Nicola Brown told the Queensland court on Monday that a young female operator had access to an emergency stop button in the unload area, which could have stopped the ride's conveyer belt within two seconds, according to ABC News.

There was also a main control panel at different location which only had a "slow" stop button, taking about seven seconds to stop the ride.

A week before the accident, an internal memo had told staff not to use the faster emergency button unless the "main control panel cannot be reached."

Brown said that the female operator had also been told during training "not to worry about the button."

When the accident occurred, she signaled operators at the main control panel to use the "slow" stop button, as the memo had instructed, instead of pressing the other primary button, resulting in the loss of valuable seconds.

Senior Constable Steven Cornish, who also testified on Monday, said that use of the main button might have prevented the deaths of the four passengers, even if it had been pushed after the collision.

"It wouldn't have avoided (the tragedy), it may have limited some injuries," said Cornish, according to the Brisbane Times

The inquest also heard that staff received no drill training on how to react in emergency situations.

Ken Fleming, the counsel assisting the investigation, said that the accident "has been felt Australia-wide."

The CEO of Ardent Leisure, which owns Dreamworld, donated her annual bonus of $127,672 to the Red Cross to support victims after the accident. She later stepped down, and Ardent Leisure demolished the ride last year.

No automatic switch

Cornish also challenged the idea that the accident was "totally unforeseeable."

"The potential for that to happen was always there," Cornish said.

"If safety mechanisms were in place to stop the ride upon the drop in the water level the rafts would never have got to the point that they got to."

Cornish said there was no automatic sensor or switch that halted the ride if water levels were too low -- the problem which investigators believe led to October's deadly accident.

Operator intervention was only way to stop the ride in the case of an emergency.

The fatal accident wasn't the first incident in the ride's history, or even on that day. The ride had malfunctioned twice earlier that afternoon before the accident; the staff simply reset the failed pumps and "operating continued as per normal," Brown said.

According to ABC, the ride has had numerous other incidents over the years, ranging from colliding flumes to visitors falling overboard.

Ken Fleming, the counsel assisting the investigation, described a 2001 incident in which a raft flipped during a 'dry run' with nobody on board. It was so serious that a staff member had written in an email at the time, "I shudder when I think if there had been guests on the ride."

Fleming said that these previous accidents and malfunctions will be examined in the inquest.

Brown and Cornish were the first of 37 witnesses who will testify over the next two weeks. After June, the inquest will resume in September.

West Lafayette
Few Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 75°
Kokomo
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 75°
Rensselaer
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 70°
Fowler
Overcast
70° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 70°
Williamsport
Scattered Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 73°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 71°
Frankfort
Scattered Clouds
71° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 71°
Delphi
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 74°
Monticello
Overcast
74° wxIcon
Hi: 76° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 74°
Logansport
Broken Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 73°
Continued Comfortable Temperatures
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 69975

Reported Deaths: 3007
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion15152724
Lake7222273
Elkhart468079
Allen3695160
St. Joseph322479
Hamilton2572104
Vanderburgh180013
Hendricks1796105
Cass17609
Johnson1674118
Porter121339
Clark112646
Tippecanoe112311
Madison87265
LaPorte85029
Howard82965
Kosciusko82412
Marshall75222
Bartholomew74947
Floyd72945
Monroe69930
Delaware66552
Dubois65512
Boone64946
Noble63829
Hancock63438
Jackson5564
LaGrange54910
Warrick54030
Shelby53027
Vigo52810
Grant51129
Dearborn47728
Morgan44034
Clinton3883
Henry36519
White34910
Montgomery34321
Wayne33710
Lawrence33227
Decatur32232
Harrison30422
Miami2602
Scott25210
Daviess25119
Greene24034
Putnam2348
Franklin23113
DeKalb2224
Jasper2162
Jennings21412
Gibson2044
Steuben2033
Ripley1947
Perry17212
Starke1707
Orange16424
Fayette1637
Posey1610
Wabash1613
Jefferson1532
Carroll1522
Fulton1502
Whitley1496
Wells1442
Knox1400
Tipton1266
Huntington1193
Washington1171
Spencer1163
Newton11410
Randolph1094
Clay1025
Adams842
Sullivan831
Jay820
Owen821
Rush804
Pulaski751
Brown701
Fountain642
Benton600
Blackford562
Ohio564
Pike500
Parke491
Vermillion470
Crawford440
Switzerland430
Martin420
Union330
Warren191
Unassigned0202

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events