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Two kids' Dreamworld survival stuns police

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 26/10/2016 Tracey Ferrier

The survival of a ten-year-old boy and 12-year-old girl who were on the raft that flipped and killed four adults at Dreamworld is akin to a miracle, stunned police say.

Investigators have vowed to doggedly pursue anyone whose negligence may have contributed to the deaths on the Gold Coast theme park's Thunder River Rapids ride on Tuesday.

Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd says the survival of the children, who were on a raft that capsized, killing two men and two women, almost defies belief. "In terms of how they escaped, maybe through the providence of God," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"From what I've seen (it's) almost a miracle that anybody came out of that. If we're going to be thankful for anything, I'm thankful for that." Police haven't said if the children are related to the four who died. They are now in the care of family members after being taken to the Gold Coast University Hospital.

Shocked locals have gone to the theme park to lay floral tributes for the dead: brother and sister Luke Dorsett, 35, and Kate Goodchild, 32, and Mr Dorsett's partner Roozi Araghi, all from Canberra, and another woman, originally from New Zealand, who has not been named.

A team of 30 detectives is working to determine what went so horribly wrong on Tuesday afternoon. The Australian Workers Union, which represents Dreamworld staff, has said it took serious safety concerns about maintenance and operating regimes to the park's owner Ardent Leisure, as far back as April 2015.

The union said it also submitted right-to-information requests with the division of Workplace Health and Safety, but Ardent opposed them.

Mr Codd said the investigation would include a forensic examination of the ride and its components, and its maintenance history.

  Emergency services personnel can be seen near the ride crash scene inside the Dreamworld theme park at Coomera on the Gold Coast © Reuters Emergency services personnel can be seen near the ride crash scene inside the Dreamworld theme park at Coomera on the Gold Coast

Investigators would look at reports that the ride had malfunctioned earlier in the day and claims it had been due to shut down for maintenance for several days from Tuesday.

"We owe it to the deceased and their families, we owe it to the community of Queensland, to get to the bottom of what caused this," he told reporters at Dreamworld. "If and where there is criminal aspects including negligence which warrants being pursued we will do that."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said everything possible was being done to support the children who survived and pleaded with holiday makers not to abandon the tourism-dependent Gold Coast.

"Please don't alter your holiday plans. Please continue to show your support. We will get to the bottom of this," she urged on Wednesday. Kim Dorsett, mother of victims Luke Dorsett and Kate Goodchild, cannot fathom the scale of her loss.

"I have three children and have lost two of them today - my whole family has been wiped out," she told The Courier-Mail.

Tributes are flowing online for Mr Dorsett, and his partner Roozi Araghi, who lived in Canberra and had been holidaying on the Gold Coast.

Friend Douglas Robinson said they were amazing men, posting on Facebook:

"Canberra is a very small gay community, everyone knew them or knows someone who knew them." AAP has sought comment from Dreamworld and Ardent.


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