Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson says the theme park will “fully support” the two children who survived Tuesday’s tragic incident.
Mr Davidson made a statement on Wednesday afternoon, to recognise those affected by yesterday’s event, including the families who lost loved ones and the entire Dreamworld family.
“I also want to specifically acknowledge the impact of the event on the two children who were involved in this tragedy,” Mr Davidson said.
“These children will have our full support into the future.
He went on to thank local communities, Dreamworld patrons and the Emergency Services and other first responders, and said the company will fully cooperate with the police investigation.
Mr Davidson added Dreamworld will be releasing a statement later this afternoon.
‘A miracle’ anybody survived
Police say it is “a miracle” that anybody survived the tragic chain of events which killed four people at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast.
Speaking early on Wednesday, Assistant Commissioner of Queensland Police Brian Codd, who has viewed CCTV footage of the shocking incident, said it was “the providence of God” that saved two young children who were hospitalised after the accident, which occurred at 2.20pm.
“In terms of how they escaped, maybe through the providence of God,” he said.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s 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.”
He said the tragedy has had a “deep and emotional effect on a lot of people” and the ride would remain a crime scene for days.
Authorities said two rafts on the Thunder River Rapids hit one another at the end of the ride, tipping one backwards.
Two people were flung from the raft and two became trapped on the conveyor belt of the ride, which is marketed as a family-friendly thrill that two-year-olds are allowed on.
Grieving families are coming to grips with the incident that caused the deaths of four people on the Thunder River Rapids ride, as the names of the victims are confirmed.
Brother and sister, Kate Goodchild, 32, and Luke Dorsett, 35, and his partner, Roozi Araghi, all from Canberra, and a fourth woman named by New Zealand media as Cindy Low, 42, all died in the ride malfunction.
Ms Low is now resident in Sydney and was holidaying on the Gold Coast, reportedly with her husband, son and daughter.
The children are a boy, 10, and girl aged 13. The two are now being cared for in the Gold Coast University Hospital.
The boy is reportedly the son of Ms Low.
The incident was captured on CCTV footage, which police will use to get more information on how the ride malfunctioned.
Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Gavin Fuller told a media conference it appeared the ride suffered a malfunction.
“One of the rides has sustained some sort of malfunction causing two people to be ejected from a ride and and another two people were caught inside the ride,” Mr Fuller said.
Dreamworld visitors have talked of problems with the Thunder River Rapids ride shortly before it claimed the lives of four people in a tragic mishap on Tuesday.
Mr Fuller said that by the time ambulance crews arrived on the scene, the victim’s injuries were “incompatible with life”.
Dreamworld management have announced the park will be closed until further notice.
Queensland Police Service inspector Tod Reid said the incident was now the subject of a coronial investigation, and Workplace Health and Safety and Forensic Crash Unit officers were gathering information.
“We have specialist police here engaged with witnesses,” Inspector Reid said. “Those people are being offered support along with also the responding police.”
He said the tragedy was caught on CCTV and investigators would be examining the footage as part of their enquiries.
Inspector Reid said police were in the process of notifying families involved in the tragedy.
Park visitor Kaylah Walker, 25, said the Thunder River Rapids ride experienced problems earlier on Tuesday.
“It had broken down and we went back a couple of times to this particular ride,” Ms Walker told Fairfax. “We were standing on the bridge watching and the water had stopped.
“There was no rapids.”
Another witness told Nine News she and a friend were waiting for about 30 minutes for the ride “and engineers had to come”.
“They drained all the water out and then had to refill it back up, and then we were allowed to go,” she said. “But, yeah, we were stuck there for about 30-40 minutes at least.”
On Sunday, Dreamworld visitor Tasneem Seedat made the prophetic assessment that the park’s rides are “out of date” and “not as smooth as they should be” on a Facebook post that has since been deleted.
Mr Fuller said Dreamworld employees were attempting to help the victims when ambulance personnel arrived, but they were unable to be resuscitated.
The Thunder River Rapids ride is a water-based attraction that moves people around strapped in rafts via a submerged conveyor belt.
A man who witnessed the incident told News Corp the ride flipped at the very end of its circuit.
The man, who declined to be named, said a girl was pulled from the ride just before it flipped.
Dreamworld visitors Lia Capes and Clare Wooley said they were just about to go on the ride when they saw people running out, crying.
“As soon as we went to go line up for the ride, all we saw was a bunch of people running out in hysterics. We saw a little girl screaming for her mum it was just, horrible, it was so scary,” Ms Capes said.
“What we believe was that she was on the ride. I believe she was in the same raft, but from what she said it was her family involved and she was also screaming for her mother,” Ms Wooley told Channel 7.
Ms Capes said Dreamworld staff quickly evacuated the area.
Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said the park was working with police to try and determine what went wrong.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by this, and our hearts and our thoughts go out to the families involved and to their loved ones,” Mr Davidson told reporters.
Shares in Ardent Leisure, Dreamworld’s operator, fell by as much as 8 per cent following news of the tragedy.
The Thunder River Rapids ride, first opened in 1986, is described on Dreamworld’s website as a “moderate thrill”.
“Travel down a foamy water track past the Gold Rush Country, speeding up to 45 km/h through the turbulent rapids,” the website reads.
In a post on Facebook, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said it was “a very sad day for our city”.
This is a very sad day for our city. Our thoughts are with the families of those affected – and the emergency staff in…
‘Theme parks are for fun, not tragedy’: Turnbull
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull added his condolences to the outpouring of grief being voiced on social media.
“Theme parks are a place for family fun and happiness, not tragedy,” Mr Turnbull said. “This is a very, very, sad, tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives.
“This is a very sad day, and we trust there will be a thorough investigation into the causes of this accident over the days to follow.”
In April, emergency services said a man nearly drowned after he was thrown from the Rocky Hollow Log Ride at Dreamworld. The ride has been closed since the incident.
In September, several people had to be evacuated from a rollercoaster at nearby Sea World during the school holiday season.
Nobody was injured when the rollercoaster stalled mid-ride.