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Under-fire CEO visits Dreamworld

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/10/2016 Ed Jackson

Under-fire Ardent Leisure chief executive Deborah Thomas has apologised to families of victims from this week's fatal accident at Dreamworld.

Ms Thomas, who has been criticised for her handling of the parent company to the theme park's response to the tragedy, made an emotional visit to the Gold Coast on Friday.

Flanked by Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson, Ms Thomas visited a floral tribute to the four victims of Tuesday's tragedy following a private memorial for staff at the venue.

Ms Thomas came under scrutiny for accepting an $843,000 bonus at the company's annual general meeting on Thursday and has since announced she would donate the cash portion of it to charity.

She also received criticism for claiming she'd spoken to all the family members only to have the mother of two of the victims say she hadn't heard from anyone at Ardent Leisure or Dreamworld.

"I would like to say that if I haven't handled it as well as I could - we thought we were doing the right things in terms of the way we approached it through the police - but if the families are watching, I have spoken to a number of them and we will look after them," Ms Thomas said.

Labelling the tribute as "extraordinary", Ms Thomas also paid tribute to the park's staff for their response to the week's events.

"We had the most wonderful ceremony and we are all here today to be part of the family, to hug each other, to provide support to each other," she said.

"Everybody has been moved by this. Everybody is suffering from this and saddened and it's not just the people who work with us, but their families as well, so I hope that this is the beginning of the healing process."

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