Dreamworld Ride Operator Was On First Day At Work
According to reports, the emergency switch on the Thunder River Rapids ride was being operated by an 18-year-old woman on her first day at work.
Seven News are reporting that a failed water pump caused a raft to become lodged at the top of the conveyor belt at the end of the ride on Tuesday.
A separate raft behind was then pulled along by the belt, hitting the stuck raft and flipping upside down as the machinery continued to churn forwards.
Investigators are saying four adults were crushed and drowned when they were ejected from the ride, which had allegedly malfunctioned twice earlier in the day.
It comes just after a former ride operator spoke out about the Gold Coast theme park after being employed there for six months in 1987.
While working as a ride operator, the 51-year-old from Southern Queensland said he watched on in horror as he witnessed a ‘similar problem’ unfold.
John Armstrong claims that while he was on ‘star-up duties’ before the ride opened for the day, he saw one raft still attached to its rope mooring get stuck causing three other rafts to flip over and four more mounted those upended rafts.
'I was unaware this particular morning that one raft had two mooring lines attached by the overnight maintenance crew, the second rope being hidden on the far side of the raft and submerged,' he explained.
'When the ride started, this raft stuck and caused three other rafts to flip on the conveyor and four more to 'mount' the flipped rafts.'
'It's lucky there was no one on board because if there had been, their body parts would have been pushed under the water ... and at that part, the water's deep,’’ he told news.com.au.
It was announced on Wednesday afternoon that the theme park would be re-opened on Friday morning at 11 am, with entry proceeds going to Australian Red Cross.
'Activities will be limited to smaller rides, animal attractions, and the water park,' Dreamworld said in a statement.