Dreamworld staff ‘broken’ by tragedy to sue
DREAMWORLD safety officers who responded to the Thunder River Rapids tragedy were so overcome by the horrific scenes they are still battling post traumatic stress as they try to pick up the pieces of their own shattered lives.
At least four first responders from Dreamworld have launched legal action against their former employer after suffering "severe psychological injuries" over the day that changed the Gold Coast forever.
Safety officers Shane Green, John Clark and Rebecca Ramsey and engineer Paul Burke have filed statements of claim through Shine Lawyers to sue the theme park.
All left Dreamworld in the wake of the tragedy.
Mr Green, a former paramedic and police officer who was manager of the first aid team at Dreamworld, now lives in the remote NSW southern highlands while Ms Ramsey works in office administration. Mr Clark and Mr Burke still work in the industry.
Representing the former Dreamworld staffers, Shine Lawyers solicitor Tina Ibraheem said they had been living through a recurring nightmare for almost two years.
"There hasn't been a more harrowing tragedy in Australia's history for first responders to deal with - their level of trauma is beyond anything I have ever seen," she said.
"Nobody should ever have to see what they were confronted with when they entered that scene.
"Our clients saw exactly what happened to those poor people and they have to live with those images for the rest of their lives."
She said the prospect of giving evidence at the inquest had reopened the wounds.
"The lead-up to this week has been incredibly distressing, it's a date that has played on their minds for nearly two years," she said.
"Finally the inquest will hear their side of the story, but with that comes having to relive the incident and seeing the victims' families again for the first time. This has absolutely broken them.
"One of the hardest memories for our clients to forget is the screams of the victims' family members who were right there wanting them to do more to save their loved ones.
"They so desperately wanted to do more, but there was nothing they could do."
Mr Clark is due to give evidence today while Ms Ramsey, Mr Green and fellow first aid officer Ben Hicks are slated to appear tomorrow. Mr Burke is scheduled to give evidence later in the inquest.