Jamberoo Fan

'Thunder River Rapids' Incident - Exclusive Interview On '7:30' Tomorrow

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From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation:

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A 7.30 Exclusive: Leigh Sales interviews husband of Dreamworld victim

Airs Thursday August 16th at 7.30pm on ABC TV and iview

The husband of Cindy Low, who was killed on Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride, speaks publicly for the first time about the trauma of losing his wife in the catastrophic accident that claimed four lives.

In an exclusive interview with the ABC’s 7.30 program, Mathew Low tells Leigh Sales how a family holiday on the Gold Coast turned into a nightmare.

“The grief side of it, it never really goes away. So some days around anniversaries or key moments, it comes back, and it's really, really difficult and challenging to get through those days.”

“There's a lot of pain involved.”

“It's a massive hole that's left.”

Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett and Roozi Araghi died from compressive and crushing injuries, according to counsel assisting the inquiry into the disaster.

Mathew Low has questioned a decision by parent company Ardent Leisure to proceed with its annual general meeting two days after the accident and is concerned that safety at the theme park has not substantially improved.

"It hasn’t changed too much from when we went there.”

ABC 7.30’s exclusive interview with Mathew Low airs on Thursday 16th August on ABC at 7.30pm. Also available on iview.

A 30 second preview of the interview can be found here. The 30 second preview of the interview expires on Friday the 14th of February 2020 at 2:35pm.

From 7:30's social media:

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Dreamworld’s parent company Ardent Leisure has been contacted for comment.

Edited by Jamberoo Fan
Added expiry date of link to 30 second preview of the interview & added a quote from '7:30''s social media
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The 11-minute interview can be found here. The interview expires on Saturday the 15th of February 2020 at 8:06pm.

The official news article on the interview can be found here.

After the interview, 7.30 did a 4-minute story, which @Gold Coast Amusement Force referenced. The story can be found here and will expire on Saturday the 15th of February 2020 at 8:41pm. Using 'Right To Information' documents obtained by 7.30, the story is about the QLD Government's Office Of Industrial Relations (particularly the Workplace Health & Safety Queensland branch of that office) in relation to theme park safety.

The official news article on that story can be found here.

2 hours ago, Gold Coast Amusement Force said:

Ardent did not comment when asked.

In the official news article about the interview above, it does say:

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...Ardent Leisure...is preparing a statement for 7.30.

Dreamworld's acting CEO did release a statement though @Gold Coast Amusement Force (not sure if it's Ardent Leisure's official statement too). Leigh Sales said at the end of the 4-minute story: 

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Dreamworld's acting CEO declined 7.30's request for an interview. In a statement, the company said it was delivering continuous enhancements to ride safety citing recent safety drills, a new safety management platform and a training academy as examples. The company's full statement can be found on our website.

"The company's full statement" is below:

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Statement by Dreamworld Acting CEO Nicole Noye

Dreamworld committed to global best practice in safety

Dreamworld is delivering on the commitment made by owner Ardent Leisure, on 1 July this year, to implement global best practice in all aspects of theme park operations, including continuous enhancements in ride safety and all elements of safety systems and procedures.

The coronial inquest into the 2016 tragedy at Dreamworld will resume for two further sittings in October and November this year. It would be inappropriate to comment publicly on matters that are the subject of the Coroner’s inquiry until that process has run its full course.

Dreamworld reaffirms its commitment to implement the Coroner’s recommendations in consultation with Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) and the theme park industry.

Following the comprehensive three-tier engineering and safety review of rides and attractions that commenced at the end of 2016, Dreamworld has continued to implement new safety initiatives covering rides, attractions, training and safety systems and procedures.

A substantial focus of park safety relates to safety systems and procedures and not all safety measures will be obvious to our guests. However, such measures are in place to ensure our guests’ and staff safety.

By way of example, recent safety initiatives implemented at the park include:

  • an all of park evacuation drill which took place on 31 July 2018 prior to park opening. The drill was attended by Dreamworld staff and representatives from the Queensland Police Service, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and Workplace Health and Safety Queensland;
  • pre-opening and post-closing emergency safety drills and ride-specific evacuation drills with staff members. These drills are ongoing;
  • procurement of a new safety management platform; and
  • planning and development for the new Dreamworld Training Academy.

Dreamworld continues to work closely and collaboratively with WHSQ, both in relation to development of the Government’s newly announced safety case regime for amusement parks and in relation to WHSQ’s theme park audit process. In this regard, Dreamworld will be welcoming WHSQ to the park next month for a week of detailed ride inspections and an audit of its safety management systems and procedures.

Both the interview and the story can be found as part of the full 7.30 TV episode which can now be found on ABC iView (expiring on Saturday the 15th of September 2018 at 8pm) and features in the first 16 minutes of the 33 minute program. The episode is also repeated tonight at 12:30am on ABC News (The TV channel).

Workplace Health & Safety Queensland also released a statement:

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Statement from a spokesperson from Workplace Health and Safety Queensland

Compliance and enforcement activity

The Coroner’s inquest is due to consider, amongst other matters relating to the Dreamworld tragedy, the regulatory environment of amusement park rides in sittings in October and November this year. The Office of Industrial Relations (OIR) has fully cooperated with the Coronial Inquest and will continue to do so.

As part of the Coronial Inquest proceedings, OIR provided the Coroner with information about its compliance and enforcement activity (including assessments, investigations and site visits) with the theme parks including Dreamworld from 2002 and in the years following the tragedy. OIR can confirm that WHSQ had been attending Dreamworld on a regular basis during this period.

Amusement ride owners are responsible for ensuring the safety of every ride they operate and most importantly the safety of members of the public who ride on them. Every amusement ride in Queensland is subject to an annual inspection and registration process. The annual inspection must be carried out by a registered professional engineer engaged by the ride owner.

Following the Dreamworld tragedy, there has also been a significant increase in WHSQ compliance and enforcement activities regarding the amusement ride and theme park industries. Since the Dreamworld tragedy in 2016, WHSQ has completed 1,045 assessments of amusement devices at major shows, carnivals and theme parks, including two extensive audits of the Queensland’s six major theme parks in late 2016 and late 2017. During these audits, 45 statutory notices were issued.

It would be inappropriate to comment further while these issues are under consideration by the Coroner.

Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011

All registered amusement devices (which included the Thunder River Rapids Ride) are subject to a number of requirements under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011. The requirements on the ride’s owner include an annual inspection of the ride by a registered professional engineer; regular maintenance, inspection and testing; and annual registration with WHSQ.

Proposed Regulation changes regarding amusement rides and theme parks

The Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland was commissioned after the Dreamworld and Eagle Farm tragedies. The review and its recommendations were handed down in July 2017. Since then, the Government has introduced legislative changes including industrial manslaughter provisions and announced its intention to introduce new regulations to improve safety in the amusement ride industry. This includes proposals for:

  • Mandatory requirements for ride operators to be fully-trained and competent
  • Mandatory major inspections of all amusement and theme park rides
  • Major theme parks to develop and implement a comprehensive and integrated safety
  • management system
  • Additional record keeping through detailed log books.

The Queensland Government is also considering the development of a Code of Practice, which would set descriptive minimum standards to sit under the new regulations. The Code of Practice would incorporate key aspects such training delivery, identification cards for ride operators, and publicly displayed certificates on rides. The changes proposed by the Government will go beyond existing nationally harmonized laws.

The Coroner investigating the Dreamworld tragedy has been provided with a draft copy of the regulations.

These important changes to amusement ride and theme park safety are expected to be in place by the end of the year, or as soon as practically possible. The Government will act swiftly to implement any recommendations from the Coronial Inquest once they have been handed down.

OIR understands the details regarding the construction, maintenance, safety measures, staffing, history and modifications of the Thunder River Rapids Ride will be subject to the Coronial Inquest.

Workplace Health and Safety Inspectors

All WHSQ inspectors undergo induction training to assist them to respond to a wide range of hazards across all workplaces. WHSQ also has a number of qualified technical experts, including mechanical and chemical engineers that provide specialist advice to inspectors and assist in audits and investigations as required. WHSQ has an specialist engineering group, headed by a qualified engineer with international expertise in amusement rides. The specialist engineering group provide support and expert technical advice on amusement rides and other complex plant and equipment used in Queensland workplaces to inspectors. OIR is currently considering further measures to make the amusement ride industry safer, by employing specialist amusement ride inspectors.

Edited by Jamberoo Fan
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12 hours ago, Brad2912 said:

Surely a roller coaster can’t be released from the station when none of the restraints are locked in place.. pretty sure that would be a standard feature on any/all rides with electronic restraints 

Even the old school Vekoma trains, which had manual foot levers at the rear of each carriage (think corkscrew, demon) had a sensor to check all the foot levers were in the right spot - a simple reflector mounted on the foot lever would bounce an IR beam back to a sensor. The PLC would count each sensor off as it left the station, and would e-stop the ride if one didn't appear within the time limit allowed. If no sensors appeared within a certain time limit of despatch it would also e-stop. Trains would simply halt on the lift hill.

It is possible, in manual mode, for the train the despatch without the levers in the correct position, however with the old ratchet OTSRs (rather than hydraulic) there was no position sensor to detect whether the harness was down, and I have seen Demon despatch with all the levers up, and all the harnesses up too. (Due to the ratchet nature of the harness, when locked, they could still tighten, so a harness left all the way up could be pulled all the way down at any time during the ride although I guess this is the case with hydraulic locks too - just that they'd also have position sensors to report if they were up or down).

Given the forces on demon, ejection was impossible anyway, and I have heard tell tales of maintenance workers playing chicken - to see who would be the last person to pull their harness down after despatch... and if the stories are true, one made it all the way...

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You can probably bypass the restraint/safety/block checks and launch the train with a key turn. Probably meant for when the train stops out of position in the station, but is still in contact with the collector rail so everything still has power. So you can bypass the usual checks and dispatch it to return it to the correct position, rather than having to drag it.

Edited by Levithian

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Yeah, but you wouldn't want a general operator to be able to do that.

If the train wasn't parking regularly, then it's an issue that needs to be fixed. If we can just IGNORE a critical safety feature of the ride - the problem goes unreported, the workaround becomes commonplace, and the reasons for having the safety system in the first place become forgotten.

If the ride required maintenance staff to override it every time, it'd quickly become and irritant they'd want to consider fixing.

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10 hours ago, AlexB said:

Yeah, but you wouldn't want a general operator to be able to do that.

If the train wasn't parking regularly, then it's an issue that needs to be fixed. If we can just IGNORE a critical safety feature of the ride - the problem goes unreported, the workaround becomes commonplace, and the reasons for having the safety system in the first place become forgotten.

If the ride required maintenance staff to override it every time, it'd quickly become and irritant they'd want to consider fixing.

I imagine it happens more frequently than thought, stopping out of position. 

The report didnt say who dispatched the train with the harnesses up though did it? It could have been maintenance staff that caused the safety breach. 

I dont think so much control is suddenly surrended when maintenance staff is running the ride/doing their checks. I imagine its more like running ride during the day so all the safety blocks are still working. It probably just gives you the ability to override certain systems so you can function test them and make sure they are working/safe too. 

 

Aside from a complete failure of the restraint, im pretty sure they are designed that if they are basically off, they are locked and cant be moved. So they probably register in the down position, but maybe they wont latch or lock the secondary restraint too. So you wouldnt really bypass a switch or sensor, it would be more like turning off the restraint so its not released when it returns to the station, but everything would still be monitoring things i reckon. 

Edited by Levithian

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Re: the reported Cyclone incident

Yeah, but given the reporting on it is so one sided how can we even be sure we should care at this point?  We don't know who was on the ride.  We don't know who dispatched it.  We don't know why.  We don't know what the outcome was.  If we don't know any of those things, why would someone go to press with it unless they were trying to perpetuate a narrative?  it could be dead-right, but we would never know like this.

Also:

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Professor Michael Quinlan, an expert in occupational health and safety regulation with the University of New South Wales, told 7.30 the lack of inspections would not have happened if the safety regulator had treated hazardous theme park rides as a high priority.

"The workplace would have been inspected more often and in greater rigour," he said.

"It wouldn't have just been the paperwork, there would be detailed operations and inspection of maintenance records, and direct inspection of the equipment, more detailed interviews with the operators, and the systems the company had in place would have been subject to more tight scrutiny," he said.

"I would expect it to be inspected every 12 or six months."

Well, where the fuck was expert professor Quinlan protesting in the streets before the accident?  My tip is: absolutely nowhere.

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10 hours ago, webslave said:

Re: the reported Cyclone incident

Yeah, but given the reporting on it is so one sided how can we even be sure we should care at this point?  We don't know who was on the ride.  We don't know who dispatched it.  We don't know why.  We don't know what the outcome was.  If we don't know any of those things, why would someone go to press with it unless they were trying to perpetuate a narrative?  it could be dead-right, but we would never know like this.

Also:

Well, where the fuck was expert professor Quinlan protesting in the streets before the accident?  My tip is: absolutely nowhere.

This was my exact thought when I heard about the whole Cyclone thing - there's enough information missing that it'd be like placing the driver at fault for a car accident without knowing their steering wheel fell off. Either way, whatever system or procedure that was in place to check Cyclone's restraints has been superseded with the Vekoma train now in place.

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13 hours ago, webslave said:

Well, where the fuck was expert professor Quinlan protesting in the streets before the accident?  My tip is: absolutely nowhere.

What? ABC reached out for comment from a credible/respected academic in this field and he gave his expert opinion. Nothing he said is even remotely controversial.

The whole 7:30 piece to me seemed fairly safe and bland. Lacking in depth, sure, but I'm not getting overtones of agenda or bias.

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Yeah, I guess I've got an issue with the "credible/respected academic" given if they were nearly as credible or respected as the news would paint them to be their suggestions might already be in place.

An interview with the relatives of the victim is not really what we should call news.

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It cant be too indepth when you still have 2 more parts of the inquest to follow. Never know what is to come or what recommendations are to be made, so nobody with an ounce of credibility is going to comment in absolutes. 

It did a good job to highlight just how absolutely crushing it has been for Mathew Low though. Sometimes its kind of easy to put a name to a tragedy and kind of move on. Like, you acknowledge it but its not actually giving the situation enough due until you see the person again. The guy looked completely destroyed. He hasnt dealt with her death at all, it was even more telling when he said the park was respecting his requests to be left alone when answering the question about offers of support. It was sad because it was obvious he was trying to deal with it in his own way by pushing it to one side, but theres so much more to come once the inquest wraps up.

If anyone wants to put a face to this tragedy, you can see how it has literally ruined his life. Its still so raw. You want to only offer your condolences again and hope that he has someone he can lean on, rather than trying to go it all alone. 

Edited by Levithian

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On 18/08/2018 at 9:40 AM, Roachie said:

it'd be like placing the driver at fault for a car accident without knowing their steering wheel fell off.

Sorry to derail, but just a point of interest on your example -

The driver of a motor vehicle is responsible for ensuring that it is in a fit condition to operate prior to starting the car. So the reason the steering wheel fell off is more important than the fact that it did. Was it a manufacturing defect he couldn't possibly have detected before driving? or was it lack of inspection and maintenance that lead to the eventual component failure?

On scene, if he was the guy who caused the accident, he would still be considered at fault, until forensic examination \ testing proved it was beyond his control (and even then from an insurance standpoint, unless the manufacturer is on the hook, he's still the one considered 'at fault').

Its why Car Wash places tell you to test your brakes when exiting the wash, to ensure that they are working before you pull back onto the road.

Edited by AlexB
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