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Thunder River Rapids Incident Coronial Inquest


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This is probably the testimony I've been most interested in reading about, and all I can say is wow. Now we see the real cause of the issue, not $25 an hour ride ops not pressing a button, what he hav

Mr Naumann can’t cant recall any times where a risk assessment is completed on a ride during its annual maintenance.  Mr Naumann was asked if there were any maintenance issues from October 2015 t

Please if the post contains 20 photos... don’t quote them 

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Someone revoke Ardent of their registration to operate amusement rides. It is very apparent they can't do this properly and are training staff poorly. The entire management of Dreamworld should have been sacked like what the banks did in the royal commission. There is a culture that exists in this company that favours cheaping out and cutting corners in guest safety to make more profit. What a bunch of grubs, the entire maintenance department at the park need to be jailed. This company needs to be shut down as soon as possible for the good of humanity.

Edited by XxMrYoshixX
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Ms Knight states that no one was ever disciplined for using an e-stop button. In February 2016, a new button was added to the main control panel, a blue “conveyor reset” button that was stated in the memo to staff, to only be used by engineering. This was the same time the e-stop button was installed in the unload area. The memo states “to ONLY use that e-stop in the event of an emergency, in the emergency shut down procedure follows”. A later memo went out to clarify that this button was to be used if there is a risk to “guest safety or well being” “ride operator procedure” “damage to the equipment” and that “activating this button will cause the ride conveyor to stop”. 

When Ms Knight was asked about the main e-stop button on the control panel, she confirmed it is the final button in the sequence of 3-4 buttons to shut the ride down completely. 

Ms Knight was asked about the unlabelled e-stop at the unload platform and if she knew why it was unlabelled. Ms Knight answered “no”.

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They probably now wish they had have changed the system back when in 2015. It could have saved them a lot more money in the long run (visitor numbers down now, lawyers, lawsuits) not to mention the terrible loss of four innocent lives. 

So from the testimony this week, management was incredibly aware that it was a dangerous ride when a certain chain of events occurred. That they didn't try to minimise the risk with extra monitors and more CCTV at minimum and a one stop complete shut down button is baffling. 

What is really interesting is that two paramedics and a nurse are three of the four in the lawsuit against Ardent. While the fourth, the engineer, could reasonably expect to never have to experience what they did that day, it could be argued that the paramedics and (trainee) nurse would reasonably expect to witness something as horrific at some time in their career as they did that day and hence they might not be as successful in their damages claim. Food for thought

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So I left after Ms Knight's evidence as I had to take the person I was going to the hearing with, back to the airport. As far as I am aware, Jason Johns, the next witness didn't provide anything major or new in regards to the case so I didn't miss much. 
Here is the link to yesterdays document: https://tinyurl.com/Thursday-inquest
And here's todays: https://tinyurl.com/Friday-inquest
There are many things I could say about Ms Knights evidence today but I really must refrain. What I will say is that she was very frustrating to get information out of and many of her answers were confusing or contradictory to previous answers she had given. Ms Knight appeared to be in quite a high level role yet seemed to have very minimal responsibilities or knowledge of her scope of responsibilities and powers. It was very difficult to listen to and quite concerning but I am so very glad that all of this is finally coming out. Such Damning evidence that points towards a complete failure of most aspects of that park. 

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33 minutes ago, Jdude95 said:

So I left after Ms Knight's evidence as I had to take the person I was going to the hearing with, back to the airport. As far as I am aware, Jason Johns, the next witness didn't provide anything major or new in regards to the case so I didn't miss much. 
Here is the link to yesterdays document: https://tinyurl.com/Thursday-inquest
And here's todays: https://tinyurl.com/Friday-inquest
There are many things I could say about Ms Knights evidence today but I really must refrain. What I will say is that she was very frustrating to get information out of and many of her answers were confusing or contradictory to previous answers she had given. Ms Knight appeared to be in quite a high level role yet seemed to have very minimal responsibilities or knowledge of her scope of responsibilities and powers. It was very difficult to listen to and quite concerning but I am so very glad that all of this is finally coming out. Such Damning evidence that points towards a complete failure of most aspects of that park. 

I wouldn't necessarily blame her for that. It's certainly not the only organisation (I use that word extremely loosely) that employs people in senior positions but doesn't give them the resources and support they need to do the job! (I speak from recent first hand experience being in such a position with a company I won't name)!

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Its the start of the process and they usually end up in payouts before very messy, very public court cases.

Anyway, fuck all that, why do people automatically assume that medical personel have training that protects them from shocking scenes of injury and death?

They have support services in place to counsel them through incidents and have some testing to gauge their state of health, but its not like they are brainwashed, mindless robots and many are still left to suffer in silence while ptsd sneaks up on them and ruins their careers (and sometimes their lives). "Dealing with it" is an unnatural coping mechanism developed in response to trauma. Its actually a mental health issue that people are willing to suffer because of the greater good, not becaused they have training to switch it all off. They are literally willing to suffer damage to their health because they feel they can help others in greater need. Everybody needs to remember that.

People are completely heartless when they say things like they are paramedics, nurses or doctors, they should be used to it. Its the same as you saying they are heartless, uncaring machines who are completely unaffected by their work. Nobody knows what someone has or hasnt seen, or just how full the bottle is with all the years or horrible incidents building up before a mental break occurs. Likewise, nobody knows exactly how any of us will respond to any emergency situation until it occurs. It could only take one incident to end your career and you do them a GREAT disservice to make suggestions like its expected of them, completely voiding people of the natural grieving process. 

So let me make this clear. Your employer has a duty of care to you. Forget the customers or guests, it starts with employees and they are often the first overlooked. Their duty of care is to maintain a safe working environment and not place any employee in a situation of risk that impacts on their health and welbeing. That is law. No matter your position, all the way up the chain to the most dangerous jobs you can think of. Risk management has been performed and safety mechanisms are implemented to make the job safe as possible. 

So when an employer has been shown to have failed in their duty of care, no matter what is expected of you job title, they are entirely responsible for all outcomes and the care of their employees. 

What they saw permanently impacted these employees so severely they felt they could no longer work for or maintain their position at dreamworld. Hell, some may not ever return to this type of work again, and dreamworld are entirely responsible for placing them in this position and for what they had to experience. People need to remember they are victims of this tragedy too, not just the poor people who lost their lives. 

That is the difference between an accident and negligence. If it was all a freak accident and the park had delivered on all their responsibilities, these people would have still experienced the same shocking scenes and the outcomes would have likely been the same, but work cover would have kicked in and covered them to the length of their policies. 

People forget work cover is NOT medical coverage, it is an insurance company who will fight for every dollar they have to give out. Coverage ends, its never for the rest of your life and they dont make a habit out of paying out policies in cases of gross negligence. Someone is going to end up sued and the employees sometimes say the whole court process was so terrible, often invasive and incredibly drawn out they probably wouldnt go through it if they could turn back time. This from the service many people seem to think is there, working in your best interests to cover you against serious injury and look after you for the rest of your life should something happen. 

Dreamworld failed and all their employees are entitled to everything they can reasonably prove in court. End of story. 

Edited by Levithian
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So firstly, a tip to all. When your post is over 2 phone screens long, people generally switch off and don’t read the whole thing...

Secondly, a big of an overreaction I feel. I don’t believe anyone was being heartless and diminishing the impact this would have on trained first responders. All they were saying is at least the paramedics expect that one day they will have to see something gruesome and plan for it to some degree. 

A ride engineer is not going to have any thoughts on their radar they may have to attend to such a thing, so it’s bound to be more shocking. 

Thats all. 

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Ill write a post as big as i want. If people dont read it, their choice. If people post something i already mentioned, ill call them on it. 

In saying that, im not directing it specifically at the poster here, i went back to try and add that in to clarify but it said i couldnt edit it. Im talking about plenty of people coming out of the woodwork and commenting about if these people deserve it. Not this one specific post.

Its not an overreaction when people are saying things like they are just seeking money, looking for an easy score, etc and using that same sentiment "its part of their job" as the reasoning. Look through the news stories and look at these complete arsehats coming out with vile posts like this. 

My partner is an rn and has come home from a shift so drained and mentally ruined by what happened at work that day that im amazed she even made it home without killing someone. Completely shut off from the outside world, she just had a quick shower and climbed into bed. Thats what id consider a common occurence. Worse are the few times she has called from work so upset and doesnt want to be alone let alone feel up to driving home. She somehow manages to deal with it, rarely needing a personal day, and makes it in for her next shift, mostly without a hint of what happened the day before. 

So, is it an overreaction to have the view that people are less entitled, or not entitled at all to seek damages from an employer who completely and utterly let them down, just because they are responders? 

But if you want to talk about the expectations, positions at a theme park would generally consist of first aid and making safe before ambulance officers can arrive. Is there a thought of death? Yes,  in as much as you are the first medical person on scene. But it would be outside the norm when compared to other medical positions dealing with severe trauma daily. It would be so far down the list of occurences they would have rushed to the scene without even thinking they needed to prepare for what they witnessed.

Does that place them on the same level of expectation? Because everything these days is graded or compared to what is expected as normal duties as part of their position.

Would you say it's normal duties to expect them to go through something so graphic it cannot be made public in a court of law? That wouldnt have been a normal, daily thought that goes through your mind when called upon at the park. Without being too blunt, even the worst call for river rapids would have had drowing as an expectation of the worst, not the horrific trauma the victims experienced. So the scene is made even more confronting because you cant/arent prepared for it, because its not even thought of as a possible incident. Thats very evident in their testimony and is not something even trained, experienced, medical personel may have experienced before.

Even without the criminal negligence hanging over the situation, these people would probably have been entitled to compensation for what they have witnessed and experienced, and the impact it has had on their lives, both work and personal. 

Know what insurance companies do in issues of negligence? They pass the buck and youre left to fight for your rights yourself. 

Too long? Heres the short(er) version 

No training given creates psychopaths with a lack of feeling or association for those around them.

You can suffer a traumatic episode or breakdown in the course of your duties as a medical professional, in reaction to something you have witnessed or seen while working in this capacity. 

Your employer is legally required to maintain a safe working environment that does not expose you to additional or uncontrolled risk. 

Your entitlements at work are the same as everybody else and if you are injured, you are entitled to seek damages either personally or through the workcover system, which ever applies. 

Its not expected that youll suffer a breakdown or mental illness and not be able to return to your job or any further work because you are a medical professional. This does not absolve you of any compensation you should receive. 

Some people are utterly heartless and give no thought for the realities of what they are saying. 

Good luck to all staff still dealing with the tragedy. Seek help and advice or counselling if you need it, ignore the terrible people saying you shouldnt deserve it or youre just money hungry/money seeking. Fight for your dues and entitlements and hopefully begin to move on with your lives.

Edited by Levithian
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Mate, so much of what you're saying makes good sense, but the opposing view is that one way or another someone needs to be the person who comes to deal with that stuff, and we simply can't be in a situation where lawsuits come out every time someone needs to deal with it when that person has a reasonable expectation that they are going to encounter those types of situations.  There's no real winner here.

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Thats not the issue i have, or what im frustrated with. 

People take on these roles knowing for well they may experience something so graphic that would make the rest of us crawl up into the foetal position and shutdown completely. 

So when they cant; when all the counselling, all the support and all the medication that the medical profession can utilise is not enough to repair your mental health so that you'll again, turn up to your shift again, they are entitled to all the support offered to every single employee in the country. 

High impact or stressful workplaces dont absolve people of being able to claim compensation simply because they took on the job; these workplaces simply create more statistics and injure more people. 

Its one of the greatest rights fought for in the history of workers entitlements ever. Employee worth was considered less than the components or products they were producing. You have the industrial revolution to thank for being provided with a safe working environment and compensation for injury suffered in the course of your duties. 

So, when you turn around and say they arent entitled to what is now fundamentally some of the most basic rights of all employees, simply because they choose to turn up to work, then you are doing them a GREAT disservice, essentially discarding them in the process and reducing them to second rate employees. 

They take on the risk knowing the dangers with the simple notion they think they can offer help to those who are helpless. They dont ask to be held to a higher standard or be celebrated, they just go about their jobs like the rest of us. The thing is, by their actions they arent like the rest of us at all. Given the choice, for the wages they earn in the environments they operate in, the majority of us would see alternate employment. Not being able to deal with the trauma, the suffering or even just the long hours and stress. 

So when they fall down and need support, why shouldnt they be entitled to everything within the full extent of the law exactly like we are? 

Its insultive, dismissive and even just plain mean to talk down these people with the sentiment its their job. 

We should be thanking them for their support and a career spent putting the greater good ahead of their own. Not cutting them down when they need it the most.

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The biggest part that everyone doesn't understand is this; it affects everyone differently. Some paramedics are so desensitised that they can easily brush things like this off, hell even a ride operator could if they were that kind of person. I personally am the kind of person who could brush off seeing something like this happen but I know that it's not the same for everyone, in fact, its the complete opposite for some. I know some paramedics who take every single thing they see, home with them. Some need to take a few minutes after a difficult job and some just see it as a job and don't let seeing such gruesome things stick with them. I personally know some of the QAS paramedics who attended the scene. I know them through family members who works with them. Most of them weren't negatively affected by this at all. There were of course a couple who are still having problems coping with witnessing the aftermath of that. These people see some of the most horrendous scenes every day, sometimes there's specific ones that stick with you, sometimes you never forget a single one. Everyone is different and I really feel sorry for the people in the civil case against Ardent because they may be professionals in the medical field but they still witnessed something truly insane.

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12 hours ago, Levithian said:

Anyway, fuck all that, why do people automatically assume that medical personel have training that protects them from shocking scenes of injury and death?

 

4 hours ago, Levithian said:

In saying that, im not directing it specifically at the poster here, i went back to try and add that in to clarify but it said i couldnt edit it. Im talking about plenty of people coming out of the woodwork and commenting about if these people deserve it. Not this one specific post.

Thank you because I never said that. My point of that was whether Ardent would be heartless enough to use it in the lawsuit.

I actually do understand about people, regardless of their careers and training, being affected by horrific scenes and being emotionally and mentally wrecked as a result.

A sibling was killed in a car accident that resulted in a fireball. I'm not going into the details but let's just say it's one of my experiences with emergency and hospital services that makes me wonder (and appreciate) how they could actually do their jobs. And the compassion that those guys (and girls) had for my family after dealing with such a traumatic scene was just amazing. I will be the first to tell you that they are overworked and underpaid. 

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6 hours ago, Levithian said:

They take on the risk knowing the dangers with the simple notion they think they can offer help to those who are helpless. They dont ask to be held to a higher standard or be celebrated, they just go about their jobs like the rest of us. The thing is, by their actions they arent like the rest of us at all. Given the choice, for the wages they earn in the environments they operate in, the majority of us would see alternate employment. Not being able to deal with the trauma, the suffering or even just the long hours and stress. 

But where are you going to draw that line?  Police are abused on the front-line daily.  You couldn't possibly go into the job not knowing that.  Should they be able to take work cover or sue every time someone says something hurtful?  What about our armed forces - some of them are instructed to kill humans; should they also be able to turn around and say they have been wronged?

I think in Australia we have a concept of what a reasonable person should expect from their role, and that's what people apply here.  We expect that the likes of paramedics and nurses and surgeons will see human pain, suffering and gore far beyond the likes of what many of the rest of us are likely to encounter, and accordingly we expect that when you make that your career path you do so in that knowledge.  That's in many cases why so many of these professions are respected and revered by the general public - regardless of what they are paid.  Some people are going to find it harder in general or in specific cases than they bargained for, and for that we should support them - but does somebody else become legally liable for that?  I'm not convinced.

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Do you not understand that there is NO line drawn in the sand?

Armed forces, police, fire, ambo, doctors, nurses, there is no line drawn that says you may experience terrible things in the course of your duties so you are not afforded all the entitlements and coverage of, say, an employee that works a register at Aldi. That's exactly what happens. It's literally taken years for it to get this far, previously these people suffered in silence, especially after being discharged and left to their own devices. It's still a battle these people are fighting, to encourage those suffering to come forward before doing something drastic. How is this news to you?

This means that if you suffer a mental episode or breakdown and can no longer return to your position on the police force, you are entitled to compensation just like if you were shot or stabbed. You have suffered an injury in the course of your duty. Do you not understand that? We are all covered under the same umbrella.

Being called a bad name and seeking compensation because your declared medically unfit to return to duty are two VASTLY different things. That's what medical professionals are for, they not only counsel but help gauge the seriousness of their injury in an effort to return them to work. That's not always possible and opens employees up to permanent disability or incapability payments too.

Take these 3 people for instance. It's a given that all would have been attending some form of counselling after the accident, even as simply a form of debriefing and not because you were having issues dealing with what you had seen. How do you know what has happened when they attempted to, or did actually return to work? They all have different times when they ended their employment with the company, so it may indicate they were impacted differently or responded differently when or if they went back to work. Take note, you can still be employed but not actually working while you are going through counseling. The telling factor that all people are still suffering is that they are still actively seeking counselling.

They are entitled to compensation for what they have been through, including the potential for loss of income or being unable to return to work permanently. As the court proceedings are showing, there is proof that dreamworld have been negligent in their duties to provide a safe workplace which has opened them up to civil action from staff. It is a mandatory requirement of the work health and safety act. They failed virtually every key point of the act and they should be held accountable as far as the law extends. That includes by their employees who feel they have been wronged by the company.
 

 

Edited by djrappa
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You clearly have a strong passion for this area @Levithian and it seems a personal linkage or touchpoint. 

I understand and agree with a lot of what you are saying, but I don’t feel anyone here really falls into the category of people you refer to in terms of saying responders don’t deserve the right to sue etc.. 

I believe other guests in the queueline who witnessed the events are equally entitled to explore legal options also if they were effected negatively, Someone doesn’t need to be actively involved in an incident to be effected by it - just witnessing it can be enough.  

 

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On 12/10/2018 at 3:48 PM, Coasters R Us said:

it could be argued that the paramedics and (trainee) nurse would reasonably expect to witness something as horrific at some time in their career as they did that day and hence they might not be as successful in their damages claim. Food for thought

I think this particular line is what has upset @Levithian and as an emergency service volunteer, I can understand it.

Whether the OP intended that to be 'this is my opinion' or whether the intention was 'this is what dreamworld could argue', I have to say I grabbed that particular quote before I read all of the responses it has now generated. I'm glad Levithian responded, because if he didn't I would have.

If OP intended it to be 'this is what dreamworld could argue' fine - but its a shit thing to say, and something that would immediately lose face in the public eye for the defendants in any damages case.

Clearly, few people here have been first responders and seen the real life impacts of events that some first responders see every day.

Those people should just shut up, and say thankyou to those who daily endure the mental health battering that they endure to ensure you and your family are safe, well, and able to spit vitriol at others online.

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I think some people need to put aside their "me/my partner deserves to be able to feel/sure" viewpoint and take a short step back and look at the bigger picture here with some perspective.

 

It's clear what was being 'meant' albeit if it wasn't eloquently written, here was that there has to be a certain expectation when you take a first responder emergency services job  that you will at some point be faced with something gruesome. That's part of the role, and it would surely factor into your decision process of taking said job if you could handle that or not.

 

That's not going to be the case for a mechanic, so if you're someone that would not deal with this kind of situation it likely wouldn't affect your decision to enter that field.

 

It's like saying a McDonalds worker seeing someone shot in the head in a hold up should be able deal to deal with that the same as a military member enlisted for active duty.

 

 

It's no slight on anyones feelings or experience, but there is 100% a "what you signed up for" situation applicable here, to think otherwise just doesn't make sense logically.

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it's also just as clear that what was being 'meant' was that those in the first responder roles might not be as successful in their damages claim. If freak accident, I could agree.

Given what we've heard so far at the inquest points to negligence, then they are just as liable as an employer to pay out to staff who have experienced trauma as a result. Those first responders (and let's not mince words - despite their qualifications, they were not employed as ambulance paramedics, or hospital trauma ward nurses. They staffed a first aid room.) didn't sign up to that job expecting to deal with a situation like this.

1 hour ago, djrappa said:

That's part of the role, and it would surely factor into your decision process of taking said job if you could handle that or not.

A person who has never experienced this cannot possibly know whether this is something they can 'handle' until it happens. Something I learned very much the hard way, but that I have dealt with in a healthy way since.

Within my service, I have inducted recruits, and we talk about the 'what ifs'. We do encourage those who feel they can't handle it to not attend incidents where those things are a possibility - but unfortunately not everyone knows what their limits are until they are exposed to it.

If emergency responders were all hard asses, we wouldn't have industry programs like FESSN to promote and support the mental health and wellbeing of our emergency workers.

Quote

Research shows that First Responders are more likely to be diagnosed with mental conditions like Depression, Anxiety, or Posttraumatic Stress. Furthermore, evidence shows that this risk cumulates with each new exposure.

A registered nurse doesn't necessarily have to work in a trauma ward or emergency department. She might spend her day administering pills to little old ladies in a nursing home.

A paramedic might have left the critical care industry (or never started in it) because mass trauma had affected them previously, or their training exposure suggested they couldn't drive the big green bus, and so the job description of a first aider at a theme park dealing with little johnny's scraped knee from running down the tower of terror ramp, or little jane's bloody nose from diving underwater at the wave pool might be a good, happy place to get away from the daily (flesh) grind.

 

Nobody can judge another person's experiences without walking a mile in their shoes. It's 100% "you don't know what they signed up for" situation applicable here, and to judge without knowing doesn't make sense logically.

 

Part of me expects to be flamed for the above. the other part of me figures this is more than two iphone screens long, so it probably won't be read anyway.

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I know exactly what people are getting at, with the expectation of witnessing trauma. 

I understand what is being said by reasonable people here, im just trying to get people to understand it is fundamentally wrong and walks all over employee rights that everyone is entitled to. 

All we can do is minimise the potential for harm, we cant remove it. So its even MORE important that people in these positions are afforded the same coverage and compensation as the rest of us. Why would anyone put themselves out there? It would be like russian roulette. The desire to help those in need isnt going to override the possibility youll ruin your work life, maybe break up your marriage, your family and even contemplate suicide. 

Again, high risk work environments do not absolve those the right to seek compensation simply because they are employed in that position.

The other people i saw commenting on articles saying they are money seeking or money grabbing really pissed me off though and is why i initially replied. Those people are vile and should hope they never need medical assistance.

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Pretty damning TBH....

 

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Internal email shows Dreamworld supervisor would wait to ‘see what unfolds’ after pumps failure

OCTOBER 15, 2018

DREAMWORLD kept operating the Thunder River Rapids Ride despite not being able to get an electrical technician to look at a malfunctioning pump for two days, the inquest was told.

Six hours before four people lost their lives on October 25, 2016, Dreamworld engineer supervisor Scott Ritchie said in an email to outside electrical contractors “we will see what unfolds” after being told a technician would not be able to look at the pump.

The ride was kept running and engineering supervisors not advised to be on the look out for the earth fault malfunction which had occurred three times between October 19 and 24, 2016.

The pump would have the same earth fault three times on October 25 — the third leading to the tragedy.

The inquest is examining what happened about 2pm when a pump stopped working on the Thunder River Rapids Ride, causing water levels to drop and a raft to become stuck on the conveyor belt.

That raft was hit by another carrying Luke Dorsett, his sister Kate Goodchild, her daughter Ebony, 12, Roozbeh Araghi, Cindy Low and her son, Kieran, 10.

The four adults were killed. The children escaped uninjured.

At yesterday’s inquest, engineers and outside contractors spoke about the issues the south pump had been having in the week before the tragedy as well as the culture at the park.

Engineering supervisor Wayne Cox said he felt pressure from the attractions department.

“Sometimes you were pressured to get it back up as quickly as possible,” he said.

Mr Cox said he would not open a ride unless he felt it was safe.

The supervisor was in charge of checking daily maintenance sheets which detailed problems on the Thunder River Rapids Ride.

Between October 6-23, 2016, the two rafts involved in the tragedy had repeat issues — one four times and the other three times.

Ms Cox said he did not check the sheets for trends, but would have taken action if he knew about the repeat raft issues.

“I would have taken the rafts out,” he said.

Mr Cox said he was on duty supervising the day of the fatality and was not told about the first two pump failures.

He said he only knew of the first because of radio chatter.

The third failure led to the diaster.

All six failures between October 19 and 25 were caused by earth faults.

After each failure electricians reset the pumps without investigating what caused the fault.

Applied Electro Services electrical technician Michael Takac, who regularly serviced the pumps, said the pumps “definitely not” should have been reset after the faults.

“You would have to go down this path to find out the root cause,” Mr Takac said.

Before the tragedy, the experienced electrician said he had been called to investigate the cause of the earth faults which had been plaguing the ride for the week prior to the incident.

Mr Takac was booked to visit the park two days after the incident.

He said it would be concerning if an earth fault was being repeatedly registered.

“Because you don’t know what it is related to. An earth fault is a pretty hard one to find … it could be more parts in the drive … without trying parts or further testing, it’s a random one … they are a bit of a hard one to find,” Mr Takac said.

He said in the event of an earth fault it is usual procedure to “get digging deeper” to find out what had happened.

Mr Ritchie will take the stand in the inquest this morning, where he is expected to give evidence about the email he sent that morning.

Engineering supervisor Mark Watkins is also set to give evidence today.

 

https://outline.com/PMxCxj

TWO Dreamworld workers have told the inquest into the October 2016 tragedy of the moment they slowed to a walk after realising guests might worry if they saw employees sprinting through the theme park.

Dreamworld engineering supervisor Wayne Cox previously told the inquest he was unaware there had been a number of breakdowns on the ride the day of the tragedy and first headed to the raft ride in the afternoon.

In his statement to police on October 25, 2016, Mr Cox told officers it was just after 2pm that he heard there was a Code 6 on the Thunder River Rapids and a technician was required. A Code 6 was typically used to describe a breakdown or ride malfunction.

But minutes later, they were radioed again, this time signalling there was a “Code 222 Blue” at the ride. “Code 222 Blue” typically means there is a medical emergency at the ride.

After hearing that, Mr Cox and Scott Ritchie, the theme park’s engineering supervisor, immediately left the rides workshop, located on the other side of Dreamworld and closer to White Water World.

In his statement, Mr Cox said the two men ran about two thirds of the way through the park before slowing to a walk “so as to not draw too much attention to ourselves and alarm the park guests”.

In the few minutes it took the two to arrive at the Thunder River Rapids, the code had been upgraded to a “Code 222 Grey”, a medical emergency involving mechanics and one that required all staff to attend.

Dreamworld’s first responders were already at the ride, wading into the water to try and save the four adults but it was too late.

The raft had already crushed four people to death.

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THE inquest into the Dreamworld disaster has heard claims staff were so scared of management they wouldn’t go to the bathroom.

An email from a union representative was produced at the inquest that said there was a culture of fear among staff.

Four visitors died when the 30-year-old ride malfunctioned on October 25, 2016, their raft colliding with another before flipping on its side.

An inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi is being held at the Southport Coroners Court.

The email described how some staff members were so fearful of leaving their rides, they would allegedly urinate at them rather than going to the bathroom, reported 9 News.

“It has been brought up... about staff having to pee at their rides, leaving their rides unattended and even being hospitalised with a kidney infection,” the email from union representative Jarard Drysdale said.

“The point I am trying to make is that staff say, ‘supervisors don’t care - they are just out to get you’.”

Edited by Brad2912
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Firstly, sorry about missing yesterday, I was super sick and couldn’t leave the house, wasn’t fun but I’m back up and rubbing today... except the delays on the motorway that got me here slightly late. 

So let’s begin today. 

Mark Watkins - engineering and maintenance supervisor. 

Mr Watkins has never seen a risk assessment document for TRR. If there was a fault or issue with a ride, Mr Watkins was the person in charge of making the call whether to reopen a ride or not. Mr Watkins confirmed that the rapids alarms were sounded to alert all available staff to come assist as guests may need to be retrieved from rafts on the course or in the reservoir. 

Mr Watkins states that both the north and south pumps had faults in the past but can’t recall a number of times. If there was a pump failure, the maintenance staff would attempt to reset and then restart the pump and run rafts around the course to make sure it’s working. Mr Watkins discussed with attractions supervisors as to whether the ride should re-open after the pump trip on the day of the incident. After numerous tests rafts were sent around without an issue, Mr Watkins made the decision to re-open the ride. Mr Watkins mentioned that rafts bottoming out from pulp failures was a common and not a cause for concern. Mr Watkins states that if there is an electrical issue, only the electricians are allowed to assess the situation. Mr Watkins advised other staff members to not try and rectify electrical issues and instead to escalate it to the electricians. 

 

Mr Watkins states that every breakdown he has attended on TRR, the conveyor has been stopped. They have just shown the CAPEX application form for the control systems upgrade to TRR, these included new controls to prevent rafts slipping down the conveyor and potentially flipping. Mr Watkins cannot remember that ever happening to warrant the change. Mr Watkins states that it was just preventative updates. Also included on the form was the chainbreak and anti-rollback gates for the TRR conveyor. New safety controls weren’t added, just the chain break and anti-rollback gates. 

There was an email that went from Mr Watkins in mid 2016 about issues with the temperatures of the south pump being higher than the north pump.

Mr Watkins reached out to Intamin in 2016 about obtaining replacement rafts as intamin had similar rafts and ride types. Intamin was confused as they hadn’t designed the ride but after looking at videos and photos online, they would be able to deliver rafts that would fit the Dreamworld TRRR requirements. Intamin suggested sending out a single raft to be used on the ride as testing to ensure it would fit and be appropriate before getting more. Intamin also offered a discount for buying a whole new set of rafts. Presumably because they didn’t want their rafts mixed in with in-house designed rafts. The engineering team never received any OEM’s or ride updates about TRR as it was built in-house and there was no system in place to ensure it was up to date with all other rides of similar types around the world. All other rides would regularly receive updates from the manufacturer but as TRR didn’t have an original manufacturer, it was mostly just common sense and past experience that was used by engineering staff. Mr Watkins believes the upgrades to the ride in early 2016 weren’t made because there was an incident that happened, they were just proactive maintenance and safety features. Mr Watkins cannot recall if there was a specific person who sought out ride updates or procedures as they always assumed the ride was safe. Mr Watkins was also never made aware of the 2001, 2004 or 2014 incidents that occurred on TRR.

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In October 2004, a guest was being unloaded from their raft in the station when another raft collided with it causing the guest to fall in the water and go under a raft. In 2014, within a week of the the raft collision on TRR, there was an incident on the Hotwheels Sidewinder where a train was dispatched from the station with a guests restraint not being locked down. Both ride operators were terminated. JAK, a ride audit company, recommended in 2014 that the TRR controls be simplified as it relies on far too much manual operation from the ride op. Today was the first time that Mr Watkins had seen the 2014 cctv footage from TRR. Mr Watkins agreed that it would have been helpful if he had seen that footage previously or if that footage reviewed during the 2015-16 time where the ride was upgraded. In 2014, an email was circulated around Dreamworld Staff about theme park incident overseas on a roller coaster at Six Flags Fiesta Texas where a woman died as a result of a failed safety harness. In that email, the 2001 TRR incident was also brought up and included photos of the rafts that had stacked in the unload station. It literally looks like someone has dumped 5 rafts from the sky into the unload station and conveyor area. There are rafts literally sitting on top of each other. 

 

One of the recommendations in 2015 was a $10000 upgrade to the controls Included in this recommendation: “The existing operator controls have been adapted and added to over many years and are in a poor state. This scope (of work being completed) should be expanded to include the upgrade of the operator co from panel. This would include: the addition of a 7inch touch screen, it would monitor all alarms, water levels and pump loads. This will also control all of the arrival and exit gates.” 

“This would future proof the ride for years to come” Dreamworld opted to not implement these upgrades, just the anti-rollback gates and conveyor chainbreak upgrade.

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