Dream­world ride’s fa­tal stress fac­tor

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Federal Politics - ROBYN WUTH

AN ex­pert in hu­man be­hav­iour told the Dream­world in­quest yes­ter­day that staff op­er­at­ing the ride had to per­form “one task every se­cond” and it was in­evitable their per­for­mance would suf­fer.

On the fi­nal day of the marathon in­quest into the deaths of four peo­ple on the theme park’s Thun­der River Rapids Ride, Pro­fes­sor of Cog­ni­tive En­gi­neer­ing and Hu­man Psy­chol­ogy Pene­lope San­der­son said the stress of the 2016 in­ci­dent also would have af­fected re­ac­tion times.

“There is a lot of work that peo­ple have to do in a given amount of time. If peo­ple are spend­ing 80 per cent of their time car­ry­ing out tasks, their per­for­mance will suf­fer,” she said. “This (op­er­at­ing the Thun­der River Rapids Ride) is more like 100 per cent. It would be dif­fi­cult to sus­tain for a long pe­riod of time, raft af­ter raft.”

Prof San­der­son said peo­ple could ex­pe­ri­ence “cog­ni­tive tun­nel vi­sion” when un­der stress.

“The stress would have made it very dif­fi­cult to work out what to do in the (mal­func­tion) sit­u­a­tion.”

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