A worker was fired in 2014 for their operation of the Thunder River Rapids ride.
A worker was fired in 2014 for their operation of the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Dreamworld worker fired for ‘almost identical’ accident

A DREAMWORLD ride operator was dismissed following an incident in 2014 with similarities to the tragedy in 2016 in which four people died, an inquest has heard.

On the fifth day of the inquest at the Southport Coroners Court on Friday, a barrister representing victims' families asked employee Chloe Brix if she was aware of the dismissal of a colleague in November 2014.

Ms Brix said she was aware from "gossip" that the employee had been fired following a safety issue on the Thunder River Rapids ride.

The same ride was at the centre of the October 2016 accident that led to the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.

Steven Whybrow, representing the Goodchild and Dorsett families, asked Ms Brix if she knew more about the particulars of the employee's dismissal.

"Were you aware a raft with guests in it had bottomed out on the conveyor and then another raft hit it and continued to push it along the conveyor?" Mr Whybrow asked.

Ms Brix said she'd only been aware the staff member had restarted the ride's conveyor without authorisation.

 

Chloe Brix (right) had heard of a Thunder River Rapids ride operator getting fired in 2014. Picture: Glenn Hunt
Chloe Brix (right) had heard of a Thunder River Rapids ride operator getting fired in 2014. Picture: Glenn Hunt

The November 2014 incident is similar to the October 2016 tragedy where the raft carrying the four victims, as well as Ms Goodchild's 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low's 10-year-old son, collided with another raft on the conveyor following a water pump malfunction.

The rafts tipped into a vertical position, throwing at least two of the adults into the ride's machinery.

Earlier on Friday Ms Brix joined other Dreamworld staff in confirming she had received neither first aid nor CPR training.

Yesterday, Ms Brix told the inquest she was required to shut down the Thunder River Rapids ride in the week before the accident that killed four people.

Ms Brix testified the ride was more "manual" to shut down than other rides, requiring more buttons to be pushed.

She said water pump failures were not uncommon, including a week before the tragedy when she had to shut it down.

The inquest has also heard from ride operator Timothy Williams, who said there was no "practical scenario training" for dealing with emergencies. But he said he had learned the rafts were capable of tipping each other up in deep water.

He also said water levels dropping would not have been considered an emergency under Dreamworld procedures, rather an "operating problem".

Courtney Williams, who was one of two staff operating the Thunder River Rapids ride on October 25, 2016, also completed giving evidence at an inquest on Thursday.

Ms Williams faced questioning over her training by Dreamworld's lawyer, Bruce Hodgkinson SC, who asked if supervisors would "come by and talk to you and see that you were operating (rides) all right".

"No … they never visited," she replied.

News Corp Australia


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