Dreamworld tragedy not just a 'freak accident', lawyer says directors should be 'nervous' about litigation.

By Annie Guest.

A Brisbane lawyer says she has received calls from witnesses to this week’s deadly incident at Dreamworld

It comes as the Gold Coast theme park hit back at critics on Wednesday, asserting that all ride safety certifications were in place when four people died after a raft overturned on the Thunder River Rapids ride

“Cases like this generally aren’t just freak accidents, it’s generally a series of events or something has actually gone wrong to result in such a significant catastrophic event,” Alison Barrett said.

“Do the directors have reason to be nervous? Most definitely.

“If Dreamworld is prosecuted, the highest penalty is up to $3 million for a corporation. So Dreamworld itself, and then the directors themselves can also be held personally liable and face up to five years in jail and other hefty penalties.”

Public servants Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozbeh Araghi were killed alongside 42-year-old Cindy Low when the ride malfunctioned on Tuesday

But Dreamworld said the flume ride had its annual mechanical and structural safety engineering inspection four weeks ago.

“Dreamworld would like to assure the public and our guests that at the time of the incident the park was fully compliant with all required safety certifications,” the statement read.

The man responsible for the last six years of safety audits at Dreamworld, DRA Safety Specialists engineer David Randall, has also released a statement.

“Dreamworld … has demonstrated a commitment to developing and maintaining a strong safety culture across all departments,” it read.


Mr Randall said even well-managed organisations could be exposed to serious incidents.

“I am confident that every effort will be expended by the organisation to identify the causal factors to prevent further incidents of this nature,” he said.

Deborah Thomas, the chief executive of Ardent Leisure (which owns Dreamworld), was at the Gold Coast on Wednesday but did not speak publicly.

She is expected to face questions at Ardent’s annual general meeting in Sydney today.

‘If it wasn’t for my friend I would have died’

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Brisbane man Samson Sherrin said he nearly drowned at Dreamworld when he fell from a log ride in April.

“If it wasn’t for my friend I would have died, there is no doubt about it at all. He did save my life,” he told the ABC.

“It wasn’t anything to do with Dreamworld. At the end of it, he told them to stop the ride.”

Allegations about safety issues have also been made on social media, and detailed in documents released by the Workplace Health and Safety agency under Queensland’s right to information laws.

One complainant, whose identity is blocked out, alleged staff were frightened to speak about serious safety issues relating to the construction of a water slide in 2014.

Dreamworld has declined to respond to these allegations.

The theme park plans to re-open tomorrow and donate the day’s proceeds to the Red Cross, which is providing counselling and support for those effected.

Featured image via ABC News. 

This post originally appeared on ABC News.

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