Dreamworld shock: Son and daughter saw parents die
A KIWI woman's 10-year-old son watched her die in a horrific accident at a Gold Coast theme park.
Cindy Low, 42, originally from Kawerau, died yesterday at Dreamworld along with three others when their Thunder River Rapids ride flipped, trapping the victims in machinery below.
The mother-of-two lived in Sydney for at least a decade with her Kiwi husband, Mathew, who was originally from New Plymouth.
The couple were on holiday on the Gold Coast with their son and daughter.
Low was sitting next to her 10-year-old, Kieran, on the ill-fated ride. Her husband and 6-year-old daughter were not on the ride.
It is understood Kieran was the last person to see his mother alive.
He was one of two children who survived the horrific accident. He was admitted to Gold Coast University Hospital yesterday with his father at his bedside.
However a hospital spokeswoman told the NZ Herald today he had been discharged last night.
Shocked relatives are currently on their way to the Gold Coast to support the family.
A witness told the Daily Mail that children on the ride screamed, "while their mum was, like, trapped under [the raft]."
Initial investigations suggest a six-seater raft collided with an empty raft that had become stuck near the end of the ride.
It's believed to have then flipped, killing four adults.
In a press conference yesterday, a Queensland Ambulance Service spokesman said all victims suffered injuries that were "incompatible with living".
He said two people were "ejected" from the ride, and two others were trapped.
Emergency services were called to the scene about 2.20pm Queensland time, to find park staff administering first aid to the victims.
New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Mfat) has now been advised by Queensland police that a New Zealand woman was one of the victims.
This morning, a Queensland police spokesman told the Herald none of the victims lived at New Zealand addresses.
Two men, aged 38 and 35, and two women, aged 42 and 32, died in the accident.
The other victims have been named as Kate Goodchild (nee Dorsett), 32, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.
Goodchild's daughter is understood to have been one of the children thrown to safety from the raft. She screamed in horror as she watched her mother die, the Daily Telegraph reported.
As Goodchild's husband rushed to try and save her life, NewsCorp is reporting that he had his wallet and phone stolen from the family's pram.
Seven reporter Robert Ovadia also said the husband had the valuables taken from the pram that was carrying the couple's eight-month old child when he tried to offer help.
Kaylah Walker, 25, and her mother Lisa Walker, told Fairfax the ride was not working earlier in the day.
"Earlier in the day it had broken down," Lisa Walker said.
"It had broken down and we went back a couple of times to this particular ride.
"We were standing on the bridge watching and the water had stopped.
"There was no rapids."
The incident happened about 10 minutes after they walked away from the ride.
She described the Thunder River Rapids as "one of the most tame rides in the park".
"Unless you are a wee tiny tot," Lisa said.
A police investigation is ongoing and the deaths have been referred to the coroner.
Australia correspondent Donna Demaio said there were reports of problems on that particular ride before the accident.
One witness said they'd been waiting for half an hour because engineers were working on the ride, Demaio reported.
"They drained all the water out, then they had to refill it, and then people were allowed to go back on the ride."
"This witness actually relayed that they were stuck waiting to get on this ride for at least 30 minutes, just a few hours before this incident happened."
A woman who was at the amusement park last week told the Herald she got stuck on the ride.
"Management blamed it on water pumps and after 20 minutes' wait we were evacuated by exiting off a steep ramp," she said.
"I believe this was not a one-off accident and could have been avoided."
Dreamworld in Queensland is closed until further notice.
Dreamworld miracle: How two children managed to survive
POLICE have told how a boy and girl, aged 10 and 12, were on the same raft involved in the Dreamworld disaster which killed four but managed to escape.
"In terms of how they escaped, maybe through the providence of God or somebody," Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd said.
"It is almost a miracle that anybody came out of that.
"Coming to a place where families want to come and enjoy each other's company and just have fun doesn't really equate to such a tragedy as we've seen."
The Queensland Government has vowed an unprecedented investigation into the Dreamworld tragedy, involving 30 detectives, will look at every aspect of the disaster to ensure it never is never repeated.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was the worst theme park tragedy Queensland has seen.
"That is why this investigation needs to be thorough," she said.
Senior police have described the scenes as 'horrific' and said there would be ongoing counselling made available to first responders including police, paramedics, firefighters as well as those who witnessed the tragedy.
Ms Palaszczuk, speaking on ABC radio, said while the investigation would focus on Dreamworld's safety practices, she was sure other theme parks would be looking at theirs in light of what had unfolded on Tuesday.
She said police had worked into the night to gain statements from witnesses.
But the investigation would today turn to the ride's operation itself and how it could have happened.
"The focus for the police today will be on the actual rides and the policies and procedures.
"The scenes were horrific."
"It's just an awful, awful tragedy,'' the Premier said.
"I think there are a lot of people in shock today that this has unfolded at one of our most iconic tourist theme parks,'' she said.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said it was a dreadful accident at one of the Coast's most popular attractions.
He would not be drawn on whether the ride should be closed.
"Normally their maintenance schedule is world-class and this is one of those freak accidents," he said.
"When that's handed down we want to know exactly what's happened so that none of this will be repeated again."
On social media, there have been numerous comments about complaints being made to Dreamworld about rides, including buckles coming undone and ride breakdowns.
Two children watched mother die in Dreamworld horror
TWO children watched their mother die in a horrifying incident at the Dreamworld theme park, as she, her brother and his partner were killed while aboard the Thunder River Rapids ride.
The four pronounced dead the scene included Kate Goodchild, 32, from the ACT, whose partner and daughters were at the park with her.
Ms Goodchild's brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozbeh Araghi were also killed, as was a 42-year-old woman.
News Corp is reporting that a young girl "howled hysterically" as her mother and three others lay dead on the ride, marking the first fatalities in Dreamworld's history.
After the deaths, the park was emptied of its thousands of visitors, who passed a mass of ambulance, police and fire vehicles as they left.
It is so far understood that the four were on a raft when it flipped as they were approaching the conveyor belt which delivers the rafts to the end of the ride.
They were pinned underwater.
The mother of Ms Goodchild and Mr Dorsett said the family was "absolutely devastated".
"I have three children and have lost two of them today -- my whole family has been wiped out," she told the Courier-Mail.
"I have two granddaughters -- an eight-month-old and a 12-year-old -- and it truly breaks my heart to know that my eight-month-old is never going to get to know her mum."
An Australian Workers Union official has told ABC News it warned about the safety and maintenance of the theme park early last year.
AWU Queensland secretary Ben Swan said there were "some very grave concerns" relating to the safety of equipment on the site.
He said a complaint relating to safety was lodged with Dreamworld owners Ardent Leisure after an unrelated industrial incident.
Dreamworld chief Craig Davidson said staff were "deeply shocked and saddened" by the tragedy.
"Our hearts and thoughts go to the families involved and their loved ones."
The ride is considered among the park's most family-friendly and sedate.
Children as young as two are able to ride, as long as they are accompanied by an adult.
Four adults killed in Dreamworld ride disaster
FOUR people have died after a tragic accident on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Police say the people involved were aged between aged 42 and 32, and two men, aged 38 and 35, and that two were crushed in the conveyor belt that drives the ride after two other were thrown from it.
"One of the rides has sustained some sort of malfunction causing two people to be ejected from the ride and two to be trapped," Gavin Fuller from Queensland Ambulance Service said at a press release at the scene this afternoon.
"All four people sustained injuries that were incompatible with living."
He added the incident had deeply affected many of the Ambulance officers who attended the scene.
Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said the park would be closed as a workplace health and safety investigation and an investigation by the coroner took place.
"We are deeply shocked and our hearts and thoughts go out to the families involved and their loved ones," Mr Davison said.
Julie Nielsen said on behalf of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland: "This is an absolute tragedy and our hearts go out to the friends and relatives of those who died today."
WHSQ will work closely with the Queensland Police Service (QPS), which is the lead agency conducting the investigation into the incident.
Directly after the incident happened about 2.20pm emergency services swarmed the scene with police, firefighters and at least four ambulance crews.
The water was drained from the road in an effort to save the people.
Theme park goers witnessed the tragedy.
The Thunder River Rapids Ride is one of the tamer rides at the park and has been in operation since 1986.
People get on board a six-person circular raft, which is then sent floating on running water through a cave and out into a section of steep rapids.
Dreamworld earlier issued a statement saying it was working to establish what happened.
"Dreamworld is working as quickly possible to establish the facts around the incident and is working closely with emergency authorities and police to do this," the statement read.
"Dreamworld's focus and priority is with the families of those involved in this tragedy and will be providing an update to the public as information becomes available."
An ARM staffer said the ride is generally one preferred by children and families.
"I've taken a two-year-old child on it. I found it very tame and slow," she said.
"However I have seen teens standing and trying to crash into the sides before."
The staffer said she had seen teens not wearing the ride's seat-belts rocking their rafts back and forth.
Multiple ambulance crews are on the scene at the theme park.
A Queensland Ambulance Service spokeswoman said the call came in at 2.11pm today and she confirmed the incident is still unfolding.
A senior emergency services source confirmed four people have died.
News Corp reports the ride was closed in April after a man nearly drowned on it, however, it was cleared to reopen after a workplace health and safety investigation.