The coroner investigating the deaths of four tourists on a Dreamworld ride in 2016 has suggested the head of engineering at the theme park might have been “disinterested” in the cause after the tragedy.
Coroner James McDougall interrupted the testimony of Chris Deaves, Dreamworld general manager of engineering, on Tuesday to ask what reviews his department had undertaken following the tragedy.
Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died in the accident on the Thunder River Rapids Ride when two rafts collided in October 2016.
Mr Deaves admitted the engineering department had never done a risk assessment on the ride.
He also admitted the department had neither reviewed nor inspected the mechanics to determine exactly how the tragedy unfolded.
“As an engineer, or the manager of engineering, you were quite disinterested in how this incident occurred,” Mr McDougall said.
Mr Deaves denied that suggestion.
“Just the opposite I think. A lot of our team were involved in it at the time and were fairly traumatised,” he said.
“So it was a subject we didn’t touch a great deal of but we just had meetings … and we were sensitive about it and we went through the process that we thought had happened.
“And we waited to see what this process brought out. We didn’t want to pre-empt but I think if you talk to most of our team … they understand what’s happened.”
Mr Deaves admitted the ride had twice broken down on the day of the fatalities, but the faults were not reported to the engineering manager.
A former safety manager at Dreamworld parent company Ardent Leisure, Angus Hutchings, also testified on Tuesday, ending with an apology to the families of the victims.
“I would like to offer the families of victims a genuine and heartfelt apology of the indescribable suffering you have experienced,” he said.
Mr Hutchings had been questioned about a report into an incident in 2001, in which one of the rafts flipped during a dry run of the attraction.
He hadn’t know of the incident in 2001, but became aware of it after the tragedy.
He said the report that concluded the accident was a “one off” and could not happen again was flawed and did not take into account human error.
Asked what he would have done to investigate the incident, Mr Hutchings said he would have ordered a full audit.
“I would have ordered a full holistic assessment on the ride and a full investigation into the emergency controls,” he said.
The inquest into Australia’s worst-ever theme park disaster resumed this week for two weeks of hearings following sittings in October and June.
It has heard emergency stop buttons to halt the Thunder River Rapids Ride conveyor were not pressed by operators after a pump failed multiple times and water levels dropped.