News State QLD News Dreamworld may never open again: lawyers

Dreamworld may never open again: lawyers

Dreamworld closed
Dreamworld has been indefinitely closed as Queensland Government Safety Inspectors investigate. Photo: AAP
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A leading class action law firm says Dreamworld may never open again following the deadly ride incident on Tuesday.

The theme park has closed indefinitely as Workplace Health and Safety investigates the deaths of four patrons on the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Dreamworld could face a maximum penalty for a corporation of $3 million if the company is found guilty of causing reckless endangerment, according to Maurice Blackburn Lawyers principal Alison Barrett.

Any individual director of Dreamworld found guilty of putting people at risk of death or injury face a fine of up to $600,000 or five years jail.

“Generally in a case like this they are not freak accidents, these things don’t just happen,” Ms Barrett told The New Daily.

“Ultimately the focus at this stage is to provide answers to all Australians not just the victims and the people involved in this.

“People want answers and they want assurance that this is not going to happen again.”

Ms Barrett said if Dreamworld was found guilty of negligence it will not only suffer serious legal ramifications but also financial repercussions.

It would be forced to pay entitlements to the individual victims and their dependents along with emergency personnel, Dreamworld patrons and any staff who saw or assisted at the scene.

Mechanical problems

The ride which malfunctioned and killed four people at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast on Tuesday suffered mechanical problems earlier in the day, park visitors have reported.

Dreamworld visitor Kaylah Walker, 25, said the Thunder River Rapids ride was shut down temporarily about 11.15am, in what has turned out to be an eerie precursor to the deadly events just hours later.

“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.”

‘Theme park deaths rare’

The Dreamworld tragedy was a one-in-834-million incident.

With reports of safety incidents at theme parks rising following Tuesday’s tragedy, authorities say you are more likely to die scuba diving or flying in a plane than from a mishap at an amusement park.

With police working to understand the events which led to the Thunder River Rapids tragedy, an engineer says the chance of getting killed on an amusement park ride is one in 834 million.

Over the past decade, there have been several incidents that have required emergency services, including a helicopter crash and attractions stalling mid-ride.

“The number of deaths on an amusement ride is one in 834 million rides. Aeroplanes is one in 125 million rides. You go scuba diving and that’s one in 200,000 dives,” the engineer told ABC radio on Wednesday.

“Statistically, they are very safe.”

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