Dreamworld Defends Record With Report Of Previous Accident
Dreamworld has defended its safety record as reports come to light of another accident that occurred at the park this year.
Fairfax has revealed a child first became stuck by the foot and then the neck on the FlowRider ride in the January school holidays.
In documents released by Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, the incident was described as “potentially significant”.
It’s the first time the accident has been made public, with the decision made to do so after receiving legal advice.
On its website, Dreamworld describes the ride as “ideal for family members of all ages and skill level”.
Photo: The FlowRider attraction (Dreamworld)
Park goers are able to ride the artificial wave like they would standing up on a surfboard or on their stomachs similar to a bodyboard.
According to the documents, a rider was trapped in what they called a “potential significant event”.
“There were a lot of children on the ride, so the staff put up a partition in the middle,” the report stated.
“The wave pulls them back and riders try to balance. [The rider] got caught from a wave and his foot got caught under the partition and then his neck got stuck.”
Lifeguard supervisors and safety officers completed a risk assessment three days later.
The revelation follows Tuesday’s tragic accident where four people were killed after the raft they were travelling in flipped on the Thunder River Rapids Ride.
Photo: The Thunder River Rapids Ride
A 10-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl miraculously survived.
Dreamworld said in a statement issued on Wednesday night that "park safety is our priority".
"Dreamworld would like to assure the public and our guests that at the time of the incident the park was fully compliant with all required safety certifications," it said.
Last month's testing included a mechanical and structural inspection by external engineering firm DRA Safety Specialists.
"Annual audits have resulted in continuous improvement in the management of safety," DRA managing director David Randall said in the statement.
But the AWU Queensland said it had raised concerns about other rides at the park as recently as three weeks ago, although the union had no concerns about the River Rapids ride previously.
The Safety Institute of Australia has urged calm and for people to give the authorities the time to properly conduct a full investigation.
"Those families deserve a full investigation, with findings based on facts and not on the wide-ranging speculation currently occurring amongst many commentators," chairman Patrick Murphy said in a statement.
WH&S is working with Queensland Police to conduct a full investigation to provide a report to the coroner.
Photo: Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett were killed in the accident
Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts told AAP the coroner could make several recommendations to the government.
"Whether it's changes in legislation, changes in the way equipment is maintained, or is repaired, or its design," he said.
"What I would hope the government would start to do right now is to look at the licensing and the maintenance schedules of these rides so they are both transparent and stringent."
Mr Potts also said the tourist park industry needed to do some "serious soul-searching".
"I would hope that they would not merely pay lip service to assuring the public the rides are safe, but inform the public what steps are being taken in the wake of this tragedy."
A law firm has already received inquiries from eyewitnesses allegedly traumatised by the Dreamworld raft ride tragedy which killed four people.
The emergence of potential lawsuits comes as legal experts warned the park's directors they have "reason to be nervous" following Tuesday's freak accident.
Photo: Mourners at the theme park
Lawyers say damages claims from the victims' families and those who witnessed the incident would be expected to run into millions of dollars.
Additionally, Dreamworld owners Ardent Leisure Group faces possible Workplace Health and Safety fines of up to $3 million, while individual employees could be punished with a maximum $600,000 fine and up to five years jail.
Alison Barrett from Maurice Blackburn said the law firm had been contacted by a number of people who witnessed the incident, however she stressed in most cases the inquiries weren't about money.
"Those people aren't really interested in 'how much can I get' it's more 'what happens now, what are my rights?'," she said on Wednesday.
Ms Barrett said while she didn't want to pre-empt any investigation into the incident, Dreamworld had to take responsibility for the tragedy
"Any catastrophic event like this isn't an act of God. These things don't just happen, and in most cases that we act in that are similar to this, that investigation does reveal negligence, which is relatively easy to then prove."
Close family friends of the victims of the Dreamworld tragedy, Kate and Luke, have set up a My Cause page to support the family.
Staff Writers with AAP; Photos AAP/Dreamworld