What does “injuries incompatible with life” actually mean?

“Incompatible with life”. That’s the phrase used by an ambulance officer to refer to injuries suffered by victims of the Dreamworld accident; a phrase that has social media users up in arms.

Gavin Fuller, an Acting Senior Operations Supervisor for Queensland Ambulance Service, uttered the words at a press conference yesterday.

He has since been accused by Twitter users of using “cold”, “dismissive” and “impersonal” language in the face of a very real tragedy.

But there’s a reason Fuller worded it that way.

As reports, “incompatible with life” is the official phrase used prior to a patient being officially declared deceased – something that can only be done by a medical doctor.

According to the Queensland Ambulance Service resuscitation guidelines, there are number of injuries that warrant the use of the phrase, but given their graphic nature, Mamamia has chosen not to list them here.

Investigations into the accident are still underway, but initial reports suggest it occurred when two rafts on the family-friendly Thunder River Rapids ride collided shortly after 2pm Tuesday afternoon, causing one to flip.

Authorities believe two people were flung from the raft and two became trapped on the ride’s conveyor belt, ABC reports.

READ MORE: Exactly what went wrong on the Thunder River Rapids ride.

Three victims have been identified as Kate Goodchild, 32, who was killed along with her brother, Luke Dorsett, 35, and his partner Roozbeh Araghi, 38.

Media this morning named New Zealand woman Cindy Low as the fourth person killed in the tragic incident.

Two children, believed to be Low’s 10-year-old son and Goodchild’s 12-year-old daughter, miraculously survived the ordeal.