The Thunder River Rapids Ride just after the tragedy. Picture: Glenn Hampson
The Thunder River Rapids Ride just after the tragedy. Picture: Glenn Hampson

Ride operator didn't sleep for three days after tragedy

UPDATE: RIDE operator Peter Nemeth did not sleep for three days after the Dreamworld tragedy which killed four people, the inquest has heard today.

Mr Nemeth said when he was interviewed by police on October 28, 2016 he had not slept for three days and his recollection of events was fuzzy.

"At that time (of the interview) I am not sure what I was thinking," he said.

"I was working on three days of no sleep. Things became clearer as time went on."

There were some details Mr Nemeth was still unable to completely recall.

Defence barrister Toby Nielsen, for Roozbeh Araghi's family, asked Mr Nemeth if he was sure he hit the right buttons.

"Is it possible you hit the wrong buttons in a panic," Mr Nielsen asked.

"I can't comment on that," Mr Nemeth replied.

Under questioning he was unable to recall if, prior to the two rafts colliding, he made a "325" call to maintenance report the water levels dropping before or, after the shut the ride down.

"I would have done the shut down, then I would have made the 325 call and then I turned back to (ride operator) Courtney (Williams) and that was when I saw the raft coming down the conveyor …" he said.

"The only thing I cannot recall doing is the shut down procedure before the 325 phone call."

Barrister Craig Eberhardt, acting for an Ardent Leisure employee, asked Mr Nemeth why he did not call out Ms Williams to press the emergency stop button near here when he realised his attempts had failed.

"I can't recall," he said.

Mr Nemeth also said he did not run to the other emergency stop button when he saw the rafts about to collide.

"They were only one second away from collision," he said.

"One second is not enough to run 10m and press a button."

It was put to Mr Nemeth that, prior to the incident, he had been unloading a raft when the conveyor made a noise.

He was asked if he turned and ran towards the conveyor when he heard the noise before changing directions and going to the main control panel.

Mr Nemeth said he could not recall hearing a noise.

After about seven hours of grilling, Mr Nemeth has now been excused.

Ms Williams is expected to take the stand this afternoon.

 

EARLIER: RIDE operator Peter Nemeth was not warned about the possibility that rafts could flip in his training to operate the Thunder River Rapids Ride, the Dreamworld inquest has heard.

Mr Nemeth has resumed the stand on the third day of the inquest into the Dreamworld disaster which took the lives of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low.

Thunder River Rapids ride operator Peter Nemeth arrives for the inquest into the Dreamworld disaster (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Thunder River Rapids ride operator Peter Nemeth arrives for the inquest into the Dreamworld disaster (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

IT TOOK 20 SECONDS FOR CONVEYOR TO STOP

Under cross-examination, by barrister for Cindy Low's family Matthew Hickey, Mr Nemeth said he had not been warned about the possibility of rafts flipping.

"Was one of those a known problems (you were trained in) that rafts might tip," Mr Hickey asked.

"Rafts might tip. No. Definitely not. I cannot recall that no," Mr Nemeth replied.

The revelation comes after the inquest was told on Monday a raft had flipped during a dry run of the ride before opening in January 2001.

ANALYSIS: TWISTS AND TURNS IN DREAMWORLD INQUEST

Mathew Low, husband of victim Cindy Low (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
Mathew Low, husband of victim Cindy Low (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

DREAMWORLD INQUEST: 17 YEARS OF WARNINGS IGNORED

Mr Nemeth told Mr Hickey he could not recall what potential ride or guests incidents he was trained in because his training "was awhile ago".

Documents presented to the inquest also showed the ride's first aid kit had not been fully stocked from October 18 to the day of the tragedy.

"According to the paper work that's what it indicates … It was usually the number of band aids the indicated the first aid kits was not stocked," Mr Nemeth said.

"That was a common occurrence that the first aid kit didn't have the right number of band aids."

David Turner, husband of victim Kate Goodchild (AAP Image/Dan Peled)
David Turner, husband of victim Kate Goodchild (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

Mr Hickey also took Mr Nemeth through a long list of more than 20 tasks Mr Nemeth had to perform in less than a minute as the main ride operator.

The list included helping children on the raft, checking CCTV cameras to ensure rafts were not stuck or passengers had fallen in the water, loading the ride and monitoring the queue.

Mr Nemeth agreed that it was impossible for a single person to do all the tasks in less than a minute.

"Mr Nemeth, wouldn't it have made sense in doing that very difficult job by being provided another level 3 ride operator rather than a level 2 operator," Mr Hickey asked.

"Yes it would have made it easier," Mr Nemeth replied.