Horror theme park tragedy that killed 4 saw victims slowly pulled into machinery

A group of adults were crushed to death as their lazy river raft flipped on its side after smashing into another.

Monday is the fifth year anniversary of a devastating theme park tragedy which claimed the lives of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low.

A pair of children miraculously managed to survive the fatal incident at Dreamworld Australia, which was caused by the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioning.

Following a four year investigation, Ardent Leisure which owns Australia's biggest theme park, was fined $3.6 million (£2 million) over the horrific deaths.

On October 25 2016 one of the Thunder River Rapids ride's two large water pumps stopped working and so the water level suddenly dropped.

A raft of six guests became stranded as a result of the lack of water, leaving it stuck on support rails between the end of the raft conveyor belt and the unloading area.

Then came another raft of six people about a minute later which crashed into it, before all 12 passengers found themselves being pulled upwards by the conveyor before the first raft stabilised on support rails.

Those on the second raft were not so lucky as it was dragged upright, forcing everyone to either fall out or become trapped between it and the conveyor mechanism.

All four adults died yet the two children on board, aged 10 and 12, were able to climb out of the raft as it remained wedged vertically on its side.

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The youngsters were able to make it safely onto nearby platforms once ride staff shut the conveyor down, according to Queensland Court documents.

It took emergency services including over seven paramedic crews until the early hours of the following morning to recover all of the severely disfigured casualties.

At the February 2020 inquest by the Coroners Court of Queensland, Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle explained how the conveyor belt sent the raft on its side.

Mr Guilfoyle said: "It ripped pieces of fibreglass from the raft which shook violently causing Ms Goodchild and Mr Dorsett to fall.

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"Ms Turner was held dangling in her seat by the velcro seatbelt and Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low seated at the rear of the raft were pulled into the moving components."

Ardent Leisure, the parent company of Dreamworld, said it accepted responsibility and had worked to improve safety standards.

Mr Guilfoyle added that the ride was poorly maintained by staff and its shutdown procedures were inadequate.

The court found Ardent had failed in its duty of care and should have taken steps to make the ride safer.

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"Steps were not that complex or burdensome and only mildly inconvenient and really were inexpensive," Magistrate Pamela Dowse said.

"They operated the most iconic amusement park in the country, which targeted and attracted families.

The company was fined $3.6 million (£2 million), which the Magistrate said reflected the severity of Ardent's failure.

Chief executive John Osborne said: "Ardent accepts responsibility for this tragedy, and we fully accept the consequences."

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The grieving families of the victims also delivered statements to the court.

"That Cindy died violently is unacceptable to us," said Helen Cook, aunt to Ms Low.

"Knowing her death could have been avoided is unacceptable and infuriating."

Dreamworld shut down for six weeks after the accident and demolished the Thunder River Rapids Ride, which had not had a comprehensive safety risk for more than 30 years, a coroner found.

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