One stop but­ton ‘or­dered for ride’

The Courier-Mail - - NEWS - JEREMY PIERCE ALEXAN­DRIA UTTING

A SE­NIOR Dream­world su­per­vi­sor was asked to in­ves­ti­gate sim­pli­fy­ing the Thun­der River Rapids ride’s emer­gency shut­down pro­ce­dures just months be­fore the tragedy that claimed four lives.

In an­other day of dra­matic ev­i­dence at the in­quest into the 2016 dis­as­ter, Dream­world came un­der fire for lengthy de­lays in the de­liv­ery of thou­sands of doc­u­ments to the coro­ner’s of­fice and lawyers for the fam­i­lies of vic­tims Kate Good­child, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.

The in­quest has heard from ride op­er­a­tors who felt over­whelmed by the large num­ber of tasks in­volved in op­er­at­ing the at­trac­tion and its com­pli­cated shut­down sys­tems.

How­ever, giv­ing ev­i­dence yes­ter­day, at­trac­tions su­per­vi­sor Ja­son Johns dis­puted sug­ges­tions the shut­down pro­ce­dures were dif­fi­cult, but he ad­mit­ted he had been asked by se­nior man­age­ment to look at ways to sim­plify the process from four steps to a sin­gle emer­gency stop but­ton.

He sent an email to key staff in May 2016 ask­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of con­dens­ing the shut­down pro­ce­dure but no fur­ther ac­tion was taken.

The fail­ure of the at­ten­dants on duty to shut down the ride as the raft car­ry­ing the vic­tims and two chil­dren sud­denly lurched on its axis and tossed them to­wards the con­veyor belt below has been one of the ma­jor fo­cal points of the in­quest, with Dream­world’s op­er­at­ing prac­tices com­ing un­der in­tense scru­tiny.

How­ever, Mr Johns said the shut­down process was “sim­ple” and no op­er­a­tor had ever raised any con­cerns with him.

Dream­world and par­ent com­pany Ar­dent Leisure were also slammed for the de­liv­ery this week of thou­sands of pre­vi­ously un­seen doc­u­ments rel­e­vant to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“This is for a very large or­gan­i­sa­tion who were re­spon­si­ble for the ride where four peo­ple have died – the worst tragedy of this type in the his­tory of theme parks,” said Ken Flem­ing QC, coun­sel as­sist­ing the coro­ner. “Two years later ... we still haven’t got the doc­u­ments we re­quire.”

Bar­ris­ter Matthew Hickey, act­ing for Mrs Low’s fam­ily, said the de­layed doc­u­ment dump could lead to wit­nesses who have al­ready given ev­i­dence be­ing forced to re­turn.

He said the fam­i­lies, the com­mu­nity, and even Ar­dent Leisure, were en­ti­tled to know what hap­pened.

The in­quest was also shown records de­tail­ing prob­lems with the rafts in­volved in the ac­ci­dent in the weeks be­fore­hand.

One kept get­ting stuck and was hard to ma­noeu­vre, while the other sat low in the wa­ter and was “hard to move”.

The in­quest will re­sume on Mon­day.

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