Wit­nesses fac­ing re­call


Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - LEA EMERY

DREAMWORLD em­ploy­ees may be forced to re­live the hor­rific Thun­der River Rapids Ride disas­ter for a sec­ond time af­ter new doc­u­ments were dumped at the in­quest, it was re­vealed yes­ter­day.

On Mon­day, lawyers for the theme park’s owner, Ar­dent Leisure, pre­sented more than 1000 doc­u­ments to the in­quest be­ing held in the Coro­ner’s Court of Queens­land at South­port.

It took un­til Thurs­day for the pa­per­work to be pro­cessed and dis­trib­uted to lawyers.

It could be days be­fore it is known if wit­nesses will have to be re­called.

Bar­ris­ter Matthew Hickey, act­ing for the fam­ily of Cindy Low who died in the Oc­to­ber 2016 tragedy, said yes­ter­day it took just three hours for him to de­ter­mine the doc­u­ments were rel­e­vant to all the wit­nesses called this week.

“It must have been ob­vi­ous to the bat­tal­ion of lawyers who sit be­hind me rep­re­sent­ing Ar­dent that those doc­u­ments were rel­e­vant to Your Hon­our’s in­quiries,” Mr Hickey said.

“Your Hon­our might won­der why that wasn’t brought to Your Hon­our’s at­ten­tion.”

From his re­view of the doc­u­ments, Mr Hickey said it could mean it was nec­es­sary to re­call some wit­nesses to ask ad­di­tional ques­tions, in­clud­ing ride op­er­a­tor Pe­ter Nemeth who was at the con­trols of the Thun­der River Rapids Ride on the day of the disas­ter.

Mr Nemeth gave ev­i­dence at the sit­tings in June.

The in­quest is ex­am­in­ing what hap­pened just be­fore 2pm on Oc­to­ber 26 af­ter a pump stopped work­ing on the Thun­der River Rapids Ride, caus­ing wa­ter lev­els to drop and a raft to be­come stuck on the con­veyor belt on Oc­to­ber 25, 2016.

That raft was hit by an­other car­ry­ing Luke Dorsett, his sis­ter Kate Good­child, her daugh­ter Ebony, 12, Roozbeh Araghi, Cindy Low and her son, Kieran, 10. The four adults were killed. The chil­dren es­caped un­in­jured.

The re­quest for the doc­u­ments was made by Coro­ner James McDougall al­most two years ago on Oc­to­ber 31, 2016.

Mr Hickey said the meta­data from a ma­jor­ity of the doc­u­ments showed they were ac­cessed in April last year.

Dreamworld bar­ris­ter Bruce Hodgkin­son told the in­quest there were dif­fi­cul­ties get­ting the doc­u­ments.

“We have been go­ing through even wider data­bases in­clud­ing data­bases kept on per­sonal com­put­ers,” he said.

Out­side court, coun­sel as­sist­ing the coro­ner Ken Flem­ing de­scribed the si­t­u­a­tion as “frus­trat­ing”.

He said it was not clear if wit­nesses would have to be re­called. The in­quest will con­tinue on Mon­day.

Dreamworld at­trac­tions su­per­vi­sor Ja­son Johns leaves the hear­ing at the Mag­is­trates Court at South­port.

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