Witness accounts of this afternoon’s tragic Dreamworld accident paint a harrowing picture of what happened in the moments following the incident.
Police have now confirmed two men, 38 and 35, and two women, 32 and 42 died on Tuesday afternoon after the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned.
“Two people [were] ejected … another two people were caught inside the ride,” Queensland Ambulance Service senior operations supervisor Gavin Fuller said during a press conference. The victims’ next of kin were reportedly still being notified tonight.
The Nine Network has reported the four adults were understood to be part of a family travelling together from Canberra. Meanwhile, the New Zealand Herald reports one of the deceased was a New Zealand woman who was on the ride with one of her children.
However, police are yet to confirm these, or any other identifying details.
Witnesses Claire Wooley and Lia Capes were waiting in line to go on the ride, just after 2pm today, when people started running out screaming.
"Before we knew it everyone was running out in hysterics," Capes told Australian Regional Media this evening, as reported by The Queensland Times.
In an additional interview with Seven News the two women recalled seeing a little girl "screaming for her mum".
"We believe she was on the ride, I don't believe she was in the same raft, but we do understand from what she said it was her family involved and she was screaming for her mother.
"We tried to comfort her from the side to distract her."
The account of a mother being trapped in the ride was also shared with Nine News by a male witness.
"There were kids on board screaming while their mum was like trapped under," he said.
Another female witness told Sky News she too saw a young girl crying near the ride who she believed to be the daughter of a woman trapped.
“We saw this daughter crying, we think it was her mum that [was] involved in the accident, but not 100 per cent sure,” she said.
“There was just police and lifeguards everywhere.
“I spoke to a guy and he said he looked behind and the whole thing flipped over ... Maybe one or two people didn’t get off or something and yeah, one of the daughters said it was her family.”