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Coroner to hand down findings on Dreamworld tragedy

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A Queensland coroner is poised to hand down his long-awaited findings from the inquest into the deaths of four people on a ride at Dreamworld more than three years ago.

A Queensland coroner is poised to hand down his long-awaited findings from the inquest into the deaths of four people on a ride at Dreamworld more than three years ago.

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died in October 2016 on Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride when the water pump malfunctioned.

Confronting evidence emerged during six weeks of evidence in 2019 and Coroner James McDougall will deliver his findings on Monday in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

Dreamworld tragedy victims (from left): Cindy Low, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Kate Goodchild.

The wide-ranging inquest, revealed a "litany of problems" with some experts declaring the tragedy was an "accident waiting to happen".

Two rafts holding the victims collided and partially flipped into a vertical position, caused by the water pump failure and a dramatic decline in water levels.

Three of the four victims were flung instantly into a mechanised conveyor, then a crucial delay in manually stopping the ride caused the jammed raft to shake, plunging a fourth person into the machinery.

A memo had been sent to staff days before the tragedy warned the emergency stop button should not be pushed.

The water levels dropped after a pump failed, leaving an empty raft stranded on rails on the conveyor belt. The next raft to come along hit it, and flipped, tipping four people into the conveyor belt mechanism. Picture: 9NEWS

The inquest heard the malfunction was the third that day and the fifth in a week.

Engineering general manager admitted the ride "should never have opened" after the malfunctions.

Dreamworld's training systems were heavily criticised, with staff operating the ride on the day of the disaster were given just 90 minutes of training.

The inexperienced staff panicked, sending out a radio call stating there was a "raft in the conveyor".

This was the first indication something disastrous had happened, the inquest heard last year.

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Despite the efforts of paramedics, the four had no chance of survival.

Ms Goodchild's 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low's 10-year-old son survived the incident.

Relatives of two victims said in a statement they held Dreamworld "totally responsible" for the deaths.

Four people were killed while riding the Thunder River Rapids at Dreamworld in 2016.

Workplace Health and Safety inspectors criticised the ride's maintenance as "unsafe" with missing slats on the conveyor belt, excessive corrosion, crumbling concrete and unidentified controls.

Staff also made unapproved structural alterations to the attraction that had been installed more than 30 years ago.

To cut costs, Dreamworld stopped spending money on repairs and maintenance in the months before the fatal accident.

Staff admitted there had been a "total failure" to identify risks with the ride and a series of equipment failures before the accident should have been investigated.

Dreamworld electricians described the control panel wiring as a "rat's nest" and one of the most complex amusements to operate.

Despite this, government registration of the ride at the time of the incident was more than nine months overdue.

The Queensland government has pre-empted the inquest findings, introducing new safety regulations for amusement rides including mandatory major inspections of rides by qualified engineers every 10 years and improved training for ride operators.

The state also tightened workplace health and safety prosecution laws.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/dreamworld-tragedy-coroner-hands-down-findings-over-deaths-of-four-people/8ed97d55-53d6-4b20-9338-e8860560c8b1

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