Theme Parks in Gold Coast Australia
Kate Goodchild, 32, her brother Luke Dorsett, and his partner, Roozi Araghi, were fatally injured along with a 42-year-old woman on the Thunder River Rapids ride.
Their raft malfunctioned at about two o’clock on Tuesday, with witnesses describing people running from the ride screaming.
“One of the rides sustained some sort of malfunction causing two people to be ejected from the ride. Another two were caught inside the ride, ” he said.
The theme park said in a statement it would remain closed “until further notice”.
Gold Coast residents Lia Capes and Claire Wooley had been about to line up for the Thunder River Rapids when distressed people came rushing out, including a man whose leg was covered in dirt with his clothes scuffed, and a young girl, apparently his daughter, “screaming for her mum”.
“After work we decided to come here for a bit of fun and had only been here for an hour or so before it happened, ” Capes said.
“We were walking towards the ride because we’d decided we wanted to go on it. As soon as we walked towards the line we saw people running out – the lady’s husband running with dirt all down his leg. His daughter was crying so we just tried to comfort her.
“Then the [Dreamworld staff] took her and her little infant sister away.”
Wooley estimated the girl was about six years old: “She told us that it was her family involved, she was screaming for her mum and he [the girl’s father] was just in panic, trying to ring everyone and running back and forth … I assume he was one of the people who had been on the ride. He had scuffs and was covered in dirt like he had fallen.
“She confirmed to us that she was on the ride but I don’t think she was in the raft that had tipped over.”
At the scene, Dreamworld staff administered first aid before paramedics arrived.
The ride is 28 years old and known as one of the more family friendly ones, allowing on children as young as two. The circular rafts, which look like six chairs mounted on a giant inner tube, are sent around a 410-metre course. At the end of the ride the rafts are lifted out of the water on an incline by a conveyer belt.