Dreamworld’s parent company was fined $ 3.6 million after pleading guilty to security charges in the Thunder River Rapids race tragedy that killed four people on the Gold Coast in 2016.
Ardent Leisure has admitted violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act and exposing people to the risk of serious injury or death.
Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and her partner Roozi Araghi were killed due to a water pump malfunction while running, causing a dangerous lowering of the water level.
Two children ̵
The tragedy took place when their raft collided three times with another one that was stuck on the conveyor belt in shallow water on October 25, 2016.
Occupational Health and Safety Attorney Aaron Guilfoyle told Southport Courthouse Monday that the stranded raft was raised vertically before falling to a horizontal position.
The continuous movement of the conveyor belt pulled the doomed raft into the mechanism.
“He tore pieces of fiberglass from the raft which shook violently causing Ms Goodchild and Mr. Dorsett to fall,” Guilfoyle said.
“Ms. Turner was kept dangling in her seat by the velcro safety belt and Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low sitting in the back of the raft were dragged into the moving parts.”
Guilfoyle told the court that while the pump failure was the direct cause of the accident, there were other factors to consider.
He outlined a litany of failures to adequately ensure the run was handled safely, including poor maintenance and inadequate shutdown procedures.
Previous safety audits revealed that a water level safety sensor that could have prevented the accident would have cost less than $ 3,000.
The company also has not provided the information, training, education or supervision necessary to protect people from risks.
The pump malfunction was the third that day and the fifth in a week, and despite the recommendations no automatic shutdown function was installed.
“The race had been running for 30 years, the pumps were bound to fail at some point,” he said.
“There were errors in the implementation of control measures that would have minimized or eliminated the risk in the circumstances of a pump failure.
“They are the cause as much as the pump failure.”
Kim Dorsett, the mother of Dorsett and Goodchild, was in court for the sentence, first reached by Turner, Goodchild’s daughter.
In a heartwarming statement, Dorsett fought in tears, saying he wept “for my lost children every day.”
To this day, she said she was haunted by Ebony’s words.
“‘I couldn’t find Mom’ – these words became recurring nightmare words that will stay with me until my dying breath.
“I have never been as lonely and isolated as I have become afflicted.”
Dorsett said every day that she wakes up she is disappointed.
“I have to spend another day in this hell.
“A broken heart has no words.”
Ardent’s senior lawyer, Bruce Hodgkinson, opened the remarks with an apology to families and all those affected by the 2016 tragedy.
He told the court that the safety and training of personnel in the park had been completely overhauled.
“Ardent and Dreamworld have often engaged with the regulator in unshakable cooperation,” Hodgkinson told the court.
“He accepted responsibility for this tragedy and took substantial measures to improve safety throughout the park.”
Magistrate Pam Dowse said the company has failed in its primary security duty to the public.
It found that the company was aware of the risk of pump failure and the risk of the rafts overturning prior to the accident.
“Total and blind trust [was] entered into the defendant by every person who rode the Thunder River Rapids ride and those guests were extremely vulnerable, ”Dowse said.