Inquest set for Dreamworld tragedy
THE inquest into the horrific Dreamworld Thunder River Rapids tragedy which claimed the lives of four people will get under way in Brisbane next month.
Almost 18 months after Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low died when the family favourite ride malfunctioned in October 2016, a coroner's court hearing will start in Brisbane on April 3.
No evidence will be heard on that date, but lawyers will present the Coroner with applications surrounding potential witnesses and a discussion of how long the inquest is expected to take.
Dates for the subsequent hearings - and where they will take place - will be decided on the day.
The initial hearing is being held in Brisbane as the Gold Coast court system goes into wind-down mode for the Commonwealth Games which start the following day.
Police investigators, families of the victims and representatives from Dreamworld have been told of the impending hearing.
The inquest, which follows an exhaustive 12-month police investigation, will aim to establish exactly what caused the malfunction in which Mrs Goodchild, Mr Dorsett, Mr Araghi and Mrs Low were thrown from their raft on the Thunder River Rapids and killed.
Two children on board survived.
The inquest will examine the construction, maintenance, safety measures, staffing, history and modifications made to the ride and whether staff received sufficient training.
A ride operator working the Thunder River Rapids on the day of the tragedy was still in training.
She had worked at the theme park for more than a year, but was on her first week of operating the Thunder River Rapids.
Also on duty was one of Dreamworld's most experienced ride operators.
There were also concerns over water pumps, with reports the water level was dangerously low in the minutes leading up to the tragedy.
Investigators using crash test dummies spent days trying to recreate the conditions which led to the raft crashing into the vessel in front, tipping suddenly on its axis and causing the occupants to fall to their deaths, but were unsuccessful.
In a statement, a spokeswoman for Dreamworld's parent company Ardent Leisure said the theme park would continue to co-operate with authorities moving towards the coronial hearings.
"Dreamworld expects a formal notice will be issued by the Coroner in the near future for an inquest into the Dreamworld accident in October 2016," she said.
"As we have done since the incident, we will continue to fully co-operate with the coronial process when it is announced. It is not appropriate for Dreamworld to make any further comments.
"We appreciate the coronial inquest will be a difficult time for many, and our hearts and thoughts remain with the families and all those affected by the tragedy."