Witnesses facing recall
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.