Dreamworld apology after ‘concerning evidence’ revealed
DREAMWORLD has publicly apologised for the Thunder River Rapids ride disaster and acknowledged the inquest into the tragedy has revealed "shocking and deeply concerning evidence".
The theme park issued the extraordinary statement yesterday as the first phase of the coronial inquiry into the 2016 tragedy - in which four people died - wrapped up with more explosive revelations.
They included an admission by a senior Dreamworld engineer that the ride should not have been operating after it broke down five times in the week leading up to the disaster.
In its statement, Dreamworld said it was "profoundly sorry" for the tragedy and acknowledged the inquest had been "harrowing", especially for the families of victims Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett, his partner Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.
"We are sorry that they have had to relive the trauma of that terrible day in October 2016," the park said.
Dreamworld also apologised to former and current staff who had had to give evidence at the inquest.
"This coronial inquest is not yet completed (but) Dreamworld remains committed to participating in it and learning all we can to ensure that such tragic events are not repeated," the statement read.
The hearing was yesterday told a water pump on the raft ride malfunctioned three times in the days before the October 25 accident and twice more on the day of the disaster.
About an hour after the fifth breakdown, it failed again, leading to the tragedy.
Protocols dictated that the ride should have been shut down after two malfunctions in 24 hours, the inquest was told.
"How many times must it break down in a short space of time before someone says enough is enough?" counsel assisting the inquiry, Ken Fleming QC, asked Dreamworld engineering supervisor Peter Gardner yesterday.
"According to any policy … that ride should not have been in service after it broke down the second time, should it?"
Mr Gardner replied: "No."
Steven Whybrow, barrister for relatives of Ms Goodchild and Mr Dorsett, suggested to Mr Gardner that continually fixing the same fault on the pump was akin to Albert Einstein's principle on insanity.
"If you do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, that's madness," Mr Whybrow said.
The inquest was told the policy to shut down the ride after two breakdowns contradicted a directive issued to park technicians that the ride could only be shut down after three malfunctions in a day.
The inquest adjourned yesterday and will resume in October for another two weeks of sittings.
Another fortnight of hearings has been set down for November.
Speaking outside court, Mr Fleming said: "We cannot at this point reach any conclusions because that can only be done at the end of all the evidence."