A Queensland safety inspector says he repeatedly raised safety concerns about Dreamworld rides since 2012, but was ignored.
Shaun Langdon has told The Australian newspaper that he compiled a report in 2012 on the air compressors which was critical of 13 rides and deemed them “not fit for service”.
“I told them (Dreamworld staff) they were taking a risk and if I was a paying customer I wouldn’t go on any rides, the condition they were in.”
Safety inspector Shaun Langdon
“They asked me to change that from all non-compliance to yes, they did comply, but I told them I wouldn’t. I refused to change the report,” Mr Langdon was reported as saying.
The news also comes after reports of two incidents at the park this year, one in which the park-goer said he could have died without the intervention of his friend to stop the ride.
It comes as the Gold Coast theme park hit back at critics on Wednesday, asserting that all ride safety certifications were in place when four people died after a raft overturned on the Thunder River Rapids ride.
Meanwhile, a Brisbane lawyer says she has received calls from witnesses to this week’s deadly incident at Dreamworld and believes those found responsible could face jail terms and hefty fines.
Lawyer Alison Barrett told the ABC: “Cases like this generally aren’t just freak accidents, it’s generally a series of events or something has actually gone wrong to result in such a significant catastrophic event.”
“Do the directors have reason to be nervous? Most definitely.”
“If Dreamworld is prosecuted, the highest penalty is up to $3 million for a corporation. So Dreamworld itself, and then the directors themselves can also be held personally liable and face up to five years in jail and other hefty penalties.”
Public servants Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozbeh Araghi were killed alongside 42-year-old Cindy Low when the ride malfunctioned on Tuesday.
But Dreamworld said the flume ride had its annual mechanical and structural safety engineering inspection four weeks ago.
Dreamworld safety inspector backs park standards
The man responsible for the last six years of safety audits at Dreamworld, DRA Safety Specialists engineer David Randall, has also released a statement.
“Dreamworld … has demonstrated a commitment to developing and maintaining a strong safety culture across all departments,” it read.
Mr Randall said even well-managed organisations could be exposed to serious incidents.
“I am confident that every effort will be expended by the organisation to identify the causal factors to prevent further incidents of this nature,” he said.
Deborah Thomas, the chief executive of Ardent Leisure (which owns Dreamworld), was at the Gold Coast on Wednesday but did not speak publicly.
She is expected to face questions at Ardent’s annual general meeting in Sydney today.