N Dreamworlds Thunder River Rapids Ride getting removed. Picture: Nigel Hallett
N Dreamworlds Thunder River Rapids Ride getting removed. Picture: Nigel Hallett

INQUEST: Junior ride operator nervous about the role

AN inquest into the 2016 deaths of four people on a Dreamworld ride has resumed.

The inquest last week heard the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned twice before a third problem killed Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi on October 25, 2016.

Last week, Ms Goodchild and Mr Dorsett's father Shane Goodchild, and Ms Goodchild's husband Dave Turner, released a statement saying they held Dreamworld solely responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

JUNIOR WORKER 'TEASED ABOUT RAPIDS ROLE'

The junior ride operator recruited for the Thunder River Rapids ride on the day of the Dreamworld tragedy was nervous about working in the challenging role and had been teased about getting it, the inquest has been told.

Courtney Williams, then 21, was only trained on the ride on the morning of the tragedy on October 25, 2016.

Ride operator trainer Amy Crisp told the inquest that Thunder River Rapids was one of the two most complex rides to operate at Dreamworld and other staff had teased Ms Williams.

"Everyone was saying to her 'lucky, you're getting Rapids'," she said.

"I don't go over emergency stuff too in-depth at first because it scares them off."

Ms Crisp said newly-trained ride operators were expected to not 'pass the buck'.

"You can't just pass the buck … you need to be able to shut down the ride," she said.

CHECKS DONE: 'DAILY, WEEKLY, THREE-MONTHLY AND ANNUALLY'

A Dreamworld engineer says the theme park had a 'very sound' safety culture at the time of the tragedy, the inquest has been told.

Michael Stead, who performed maintenance on the Thunder River Rapids ride, was cross-examined by barristers for Dreamworld and a senior staffer.

He said checks were carried out on rides daily, weekly, three-monthly and annually, with parts such as nuts and bolts replaced.

Mr Stead said he did not identify any safety issues with the Thunder River Rapids ride and never heard anyone else raise any concerns.

He agreed any safety concerns would have been taken seriously.

OPERATOR RELIED ON ENGINEERS TO KNOW RIDE WAS 'SAFE'

The inquest heard the ride broke down twice within hours in the lead up to the tragedy on October 25, 2016.

Thunder River Rapids supervisor Sarah Cotter told engineers the situation was 'ridiculous' but they told her the ride could only be shut down for the day after three breakdowns.

The four tourists were killed after the water pump failed for a third time about an hour after the second breakdown.

Under cross-examination by Matthew Hickey, barrister for ride victim Cindy Low, Ms Cotter said she could have shut down the ride herself if she had any safety concerns but trusted her colleagues 'knew what they were doing'.

"They know more about how the ride works than I do so they're going to have more information than me," she said.

"If they say it's safe and ready to go, I'll believe them that it's safe and ready to go."

Thunder River Rapids supervisor Sarah Cotter. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled
Thunder River Rapids supervisor Sarah Cotter. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Peled

The inquest heard the ride broke down twice within hours in the lead up to the tragedy on October 25, 2016.

Thunder River Rapids supervisor Sarah Cotter told engineers the situation was 'ridiculous' but they told her the ride could only be shut down for the day after three breakdowns.

The four tourists were killed after the water pump failed for a third time about an hour after the second breakdown.

Under cross-examination by Matthew Hickey, barrister for ride victim Cindy Low, Ms Cotter said she could have shut down the ride herself if she had any safety concerns but trusted her colleagues 'knew what they were doing'.

"They know more about how the ride works than I do so they're going to have more information than me," she said.

"If they say it's safe and ready to go, I'll believe them that it's safe and ready to go."

ROLLING UPDATES

12.53pm Dreamworld engineer says theme park had a 'very sound' safety culture at the time of the Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy Dreamworld inquest.

12pm A senior Dreamworld ride operator says she would have "100 per cent" pressed the emergency stop button if she had been operating the Thunder River Rapids ride at the time of the tragedy.

Sarah Cotter, who trains junior ride operators, said she expected her colleagues to use common sense.

She said she arrived at the ride after hearing a "Code 222 Blue" (medical emergency) and heard screaming.

She told the inquest the button to stop the conveyor was not pushed.

"I 100 per cent would have pushed that button," she said.

The inquest heard there was a protocol that the ride could only be shut down for the day after three breakdowns.

But Ms Cotter said rides were routinely shut down in the event of danger.

11.05am The distraught partner of Thunder River Ride victim Kate Goodchild yelled 'why didn't you stop the ride?' at staff after the tragedy, the inquest has been told.

Dave Turner yelled at supervisor Sarah Cotter after the raft carrying Ms Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett, Mr Dorset's partner Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low capsized.

Ms Cotter told workplace health and safety investigators: "I just don't understand why no-one stopped the conveyor."

11am An alarm meant to notify Dreamworld staff that the a raft had capsized and guests were in the water on the Thunder River Rapids ride was not activated, the Dreamworld inquest has been told.

Ride supervisor said Sarah Cotter, who was not operating the Thunder River Rapids ride when the tragedy, said she heard a 'Code 222 Blue' (medical emergency) over the two-way radio.

She said an alarm on the ride's control panel had not been pressed.

10.35pm Thunder River Rapids ride supervisor tells Dreamworld inquest she trusted engineers that ride was 'safe and ready to go' after two breakdowns in the hours leading up to tragedy.