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Dreamworld Bombshell: Tragic Reason Four People Died

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Dreamworld Bombshell: Tragic Reason Four People Died

The emergency stop button on the control panel of a Dreamworld ride on which four guests died was not subject to regular maintenance checks, an inquest has heard.

The inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi resumed on Monday at the Southport Coroners Court.

The four guests were killed at the Gold Coast theme park in October 2016 while on the Thunder Rivers Rapid ride.

Maintenance supervisor Stephen Murphy told the inquest he had never used the emergency stop button on the main control panel of the ride.

The inquest into the deaths of four guests on Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride in October 2016 resumed on Monday
Maintenance supervisor Stephen Murphy (pictured) told the inquest he had never used the emergency stop button on the main control panel of the ride

Mr Murphy said he had no idea what the button exactly did and despite using other emergency stop buttons during his daily checks, he had never pressed the control panel button.

‘That button was not a part of our pre-operational checks,’ Mr Murphy said.

The inquest also heard Mr Murphy had no knowledge of previous incidents on the ride in 2001 and 2014 when rafts had collided in similar circumstances to the fatal incident in 2016.

He said he did not believe at the time of the incident that the rafts colliding was an obvious risk on the ride.

Barrister Matthew Hickey, representing the family of Ms Low, asked what would happen if rafts did collide on the ride.

‘We all know the consequences once that did happen,’ Mr Murphy replied.

‘Did you know it had happened before?’ Mr Hickey asked, with Mr Murphy simply replying ‘no’.

The inquest also heard Dreamworld rides were allowed to break three times a day before they were shut down.

Mr Murphy said he did not believe at the time of the incident that the rafts colliding was an obvious risk on the ride

The breakdown policy had been changed in the lead-up to the fatal accident following a directive from management.

Rides previously had to be shut off after two incidents, with Mr Murphy asked why the change had been made, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported.

‘It was passed down from the management meeting that we would do it that way,’ Mr Murphy told the inquest.

On the day four guests were killed, the ride had already broken down twice prior to the tragedy unfolding.

Mr Murphy said he could not remember when the new policy was implemented and added no explanation had been provided for the change.

The inquest into the fatal Thunder River Rapids ride resumed at the Southport Coroners Court in Queensland on Monday 
Matthew Low, husband of victim Cindy Low, is pictured arriving at the Southport Coroners Court
Barrister Matthew Hickey, representing the family of Ms Low, arrives at the Southport Magistrates Court on Monday

The first two weeks of the inquest in June heard from ride supervisors and engineers who either worked at the park on the day of the tragedy or in the preceding days.

The second portion of the inquest will hear from more senior park management including those in charge of engineering, maintenance and policy.

Former Dreamworld employee Stephen Buss, who was fired after the 2014 incident, was expected to give evidence on Tuesday.

Dreamworld general manager Troy Margetts was also expected to be called to give evidence during the two-week window.

Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson resigned following the opening fortnight of the inquest.

Ardent Leisure chairman Gary Weiss said Dreamworld was 'committed to ensuring Dreamworld becomes recognised as Australia's global benchmark for theme park safety'
Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson resigned during the first inquest

Since Mr Davidson’s resignation Ardent Leisure, the parent company of the theme park, had announced Nicole Noye as acting CEO alongside new executive appointments Phil Tanner as director of safety and former Queensland police inspector Mike McKay as director for culture, community and external relations.

Ardent Leisure said in August the inquest had hampered efforts to encourage visitors back to the park.

The company reported a net loss of $90.7 million for the year to June 26, with attendance dropping to 1.658 million visits in 2017/18 from 1.663 million the year before.

‘We are committed to ensuring Dreamworld becomes recognised as Australia’s global benchmark for theme park safety – the Ardent board has no greater priority,’ Ardent Leisure chairman Gary Weiss said in a statement.

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