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Dreamworld: Australia theme park to reopen on Friday

BBC News BBC News 26/10/2016

Dreamworld © Getty Dreamworld The Dreamworld theme park, in the Australian state of Queensland, is to reopen on Friday, three days after an accident on a ride killed four people.

The Gold Coast park said it hoped the reopening would begin the "healing process" and that all entry proceeds would go to the Australian Red Cross.

A sister and brother, and the brother's partner, were among the dead.

The four died when their raft on the Thunder River Rapids ride collided with another raft and flipped over.

Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorset, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low © Provided by BBC News Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorset, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low

Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett were siblings, while Roozbeh Araghi was Mr Dorsett's partner. Cindy Low was not known to the three

In a statement released on Wednesday afternoon, the park said it would host a "Memorial Day" on Friday, with doors opening at 11:00 (01:00 GMT).

It said: "We hope this will be considered the start of the healing process for all concerned.

"From the Memorial Day, activities will be limited to smaller rides, animal attractions, and the water park."

All entry proceeds will go to the Red Cross, which has been helping the affected families.

The owner of the park, Ardent Leisure Group, also revealed that the ride in question had completed its annual safety inspection, carried out by a "specialist external engineering firm", on 29 September.

The victims have been named as Kate Goodchild, 32, her brother Luke Dorsett, 35, Mr Dorsett's partner, Roozbeh Araghi, 38, and Cindy Low, a 42-year-old New Zealand citizen who lived in Sydney.

A 10-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl, who media say were related to the victims, were also on the raft. They were thrown free and survived.

Queensland assistant police commissioner Brian Codd said it was "almost a miracle that anybody came out of that", adding: "If we're going to be thankful for anything, I'm thankful for that."

Visitors have been laying floral tributes to the victims at the gates of the park, some 50km (30 miles) south of Brisbane.

Dreamworld map © Provided by BBC News Dreamworld map

Kim Dorsett, the mother of Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, told the Courier-Mail newspaper : "I have three children and have lost two of them today - my whole family has been wiped out."

Ms Low was visiting the theme park with her two children and her husband, local media said.

She decided to separate from her daughter and husband and ride in another raft with her son and four strangers.

The Thunder River Rapids ride opened in 1986. Dreamworld says it allows visitors to "travel down a foamy water track" in circular rafts.

The Australian Workers Union said it had raised "grave concerns" about safety on rides at the park more than a year ago, though not about the river rapids ride specifically.

Forensic police are reviewing CCTV footage and investigating the scene. They will submit a report to the state coroner alongside workplace safety authorities and the coroner will decide if any charges should be filed. 

Worst amusement park accidents

  • Eight teenagers were killed in a 1984 fire at the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park in New Jersey, US. Arsonists are believed to have started the blaze
  • Six people died in a failed simulated rocket launch in Shenzhen, China, in 2010. One of the cars on the centrifuge ride became loose, lost power and the ride fell to the ground in flames with 44 people inside
  • Five children were killed when the Battersea Park Big Dipper malfunctioned in the UK in 1972. Rope hauling cars to the top of launch slope broke and a safety mechanism failed, causing cars to roll into the boarding area
  • Three died at the Galaxyland Amusement Park in Alberta, Canada, in 1986. The last car of a four-car train on the Mindbender triple loop ride came away from the track, throwing off passengers before crashing into a concrete pillar
  • One person died in a rollercoaster accident at Expoland in Osaka, Japan, in 2007; another was killed at the Darien Lake theme park in New York State, US, in 2011
  • Sixteen people - including two teenage girls who needed leg amputations - were injured at UK's Alton Towers park in 2015. Engineers failed to notice a stationary car on the 14-loop Smiler ride and overrode the stop mechanism, sending the next car into it

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