Grieving husband’s parting shot at Dreamworld
THE husband of one of the tourists killed in the Dreamworld Thunder River Rapids disaster has slammed the theme park's management as the harrowing inquest finally draws to a close.
After more than six weeks' worth of hearings spread over six months, the inquest into the 2016 tragedy that claimed the lives of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low finished abruptly just before lunch yesterday.
Afterwards, Mathew Low issued a statement slamming the theme park over the "senseless" death of his wife.
"It is still unfathomable as to why Dreamworld hasn't moved to overhaul their safety practices, policies and standards to date," he said.
"Nothing significant has changed since the immediate wake of the tragedy, nor even when they have learned of the revelations about their flaws in safety standards and practices through this Inquiry.
"It seems that their priority has been to maintain their image without action.
"The inquiry has been heartbreaking to listen to.
"Our hope is that the recommendations will ensure that we all have answers into why this disaster occurred, and will prevent any other family going through such enormous heartbreak."
Kim Dorsett, who lost two children and the man who was practically her son-in-law in the tragedy, said it was very emotional now that the hearings were finally over.
Earlier, coroner James McDougall said he appreciated the effort they made to sit through weeks of harrowing testimony, in which a catalogue of shortfalls and failures by the Gold Coast theme park were laid bare.
"I appreciate the families and loved ones who have attended almost every day of this inquest," he said.
"I realise how difficult it has been to sit there and listen to the evidence and I thank you for doing that.
"You have my deepest condolences."
Dreamworld's former CEO Craig Davidson and parent company Ardent Leisure's former boss Deborah Thomas were not required to give evidence at the inquest.
Ms Thomas, who left her post soon after the tragedy, was photographed in Sydney yesterday enjoying lunch at a restaurant at The Rocks.
Sources close to the case believe families could receive multimillion-dollar compensation payouts from Dreamworld and Ardent.
Ardent chairman Gary Weiss said the company was committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure a tragedy like the Thunder River Rapids disaster never happens again.
"Our thoughts remain with the victims' families and everyone who has been affected by this terrible tragedy," he said.
"Ardent reaffirms its commitment to implement all of the coroner's recommendations, in consultation with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and the theme park industry.
"The restructured and strengthened executive management team at Dreamworld is working hard to ensure Dreamworld delivers global best practice in all aspects of theme park operations, so that such a tragedy never happens again.
"There is no greater priority than the safety of our guests and team members."
Mr McDougall does not have the power to lay criminal charges over the tragedy, but could instead recommend that the case be referred back to the Director of Public Prosecutions.
He is expected to deliver his findings sometime in the first half of next year.