Dreamworld victims (clockwise from top left) Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.
Dreamworld victims (clockwise from top left) Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low.

Ride operator ‘told not to speak to police’

A HIGH-LEVEL Dreamworld staffer told a junior ride operator not to speak to police after the fatal tragedy at the Gold Coast theme park in October 2016.

Under cross-examination by barrister for Roozi Araghi's family, Toby Neilsen, level-two ride operator Courtney Williams told the inquest into the deaths of four people that she had been told not to speak to police by a man named Troy, who she believed was second-in-charge at the park.

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Shortly after the accident she told police: "The first person I saw when I walked back (to the Thunder River Rapids ride) was Troy. He was high up in the management side of things".

The inquest heard the man told Ms Williams "not to say anything to anyone, not to give any statements and wait to the side".

A police officer then asked the ride operator to take a statement and after "looking to Troy for permission" Ms Williams went with the officer.

The high-level Dreamworld staffer allegedly asked the police officer "do it (take the statement) somewhere else".

"Was it your interpretation of that, that Troy was worried about what you might say to people?" Mr Neilsen asked.

"I didn't really think about it," Ms Williams said.

He then asked the ride operator: "Did you feel under any pressure not to speak to police?"

"Yes," Ms Williams replied.

The inquest resumes tomorrow.

Dreamworld operator Courtney Williams said she was trained on the Thunder River Rapids ride on the morning of the fatal accident as both a deck hand and a level-two operator.
Dreamworld operator Courtney Williams said she was trained on the Thunder River Rapids ride on the morning of the fatal accident as both a deck hand and a level-two operator.

OPERATOR: MORE TRAINING MAY HAVE AVERTED ACCIDENT

THE second operator on the Dreamworld ride that killed four people has told an inquest into the deaths more training would have avoided the fatal accident.

Level-two ride operator Courtney Williams this afternoon took the stand in the inquest into the deaths of Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low, who were killed when their raft flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park in October, 2016, after one of the pumps failed.

Ms Williams said she was trained on the Thunder River Rapids ride on the morning of the fatal accident as both a deck hand and a level-two operator.

She told the inquest she was never shown the button that stopped the conveyor and told not to use the two-second e-stop button, with her trainer saying "nobody ever uses it".

Ms Williams also told the inquest she believed after her training the ride would stop automatically if the water level dropped.

She said she did not receive adequate training to operate the ride and did not feel "comfortable and confident" to press any buttons in the control panel.

"The Thunder River Rapids ride is one of the largest rides at the theme park therefore it would seem logical to me that the training should be longer," Ms Williams said through a statement.

Ms Williams added during the inquest: "I believe it should be longer as I did not believe I had sufficient training on parts I now know (that) I should have known."

She was later asked by barrister Matthew Hickey for the Low family: "Do you have an impression thinking back on it as to how this entire thing could have been avoided?"

"I believe more training," Ms Williams replied.

The inquest heard Ms Williams was facing the conveyor belt when the entire incident unfolded.

"Once the raft became vertical you ran to the conveyor, you assisted who we now know as Kieran Low, he had freed himself, and you in fact climbed onto the conveyor is that right?" Counsel assisting the coroner Rhiannon Helsen asked Ms Williams.

"Yes," she replied.

"And you sat with him, is that right?" Ms Helsen said.

"Yes," Ms Williams said, who the inquest heard later comforted the boy and helped him out of the water.

Ms Williams told the court she had not received any CPR or first-aid training for working on one of the most complex rides at the theme park.

"I'm not surprised that we didn't receive that because in the time I had been there it had never happened before that we'd been given any more than what was standard training procedure," she said.

She later said: "I'd never been in that situation before … so I had to think on my feet really" about the day of the fatal accident.

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The Dreamworld inquest has wrapped up for today. Keep up with all updates from the third day of harrowing evidence here at The Courier-Mail.

4.17pm Ms Williams agrees with barrister Steven Whybrow she had heard from other staff the Thunder River Rapids ride was a "tougher gig" because it was more physically demanding.

4.14pm The inquest hears there may have been three prior problems with the pump on the Thunder River Rapids ride on the day of the tragedy, including a one when the pump was started. The Dreamworld disaster could have been the fourth issue.

4.07pm Ms Williams said even if she had known at the time the e-stop button would stop the conveyor, she wouldn't have pressed it without instruction from a senior ride operator. "I would not have pressed it, because I was not trained on it," she told the inquest.

4.03pm "(The other ride operator) didn't react at all and I looked back and I saw the incident unfold and then I went into action," Ms Williams says of the fatal accident at Dreamworld in 2016.

RIDE OPERATOR 'HAD NO TIME' TO PRESS EMERGENCY BUTTON

SENIOR ride operator Peter Nemeth has told the inquest into the Dreamworld ride tragedy he never tried to press the two-second shutdown button during the emergency.

Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low were killed when their raft flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park in October, 2016, after one of the pumps failed.

 

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Much of the third day of the inquest into their deaths, being held at Southport Courthouse, considered the timing and sequence which level-three ride operator Peter Nemeth pushed the eight-second emergency stop button after seeing the water level had dropped on the ride.

Thunder River Rapids ride operator Peter Nemeth is giving evidence for a second day. Picture: AAP Image/Tim Marsden
Thunder River Rapids ride operator Peter Nemeth is giving evidence for a second day. Picture: AAP Image/Tim Marsden

The inquest heard Mr Nemeth saw the water level was low and went into the control room to press the slow-stop button in an attempt to stop the conveyor belt on the ride, but it did not work.

He returned to help unload passengers from a raft before going back and hitting the button about three more times when he saw two rafts were about to collide, moments before the fatal accident, as the conveyor belt had not stopped.

Under cross-examination by barrister Craig Eberhardt, for Ardent Group safety manager Angus Hutchings, Mr Nemeth conceded he did not press the two-second emergency stop button at the unload end of the ride, despite being the senior person in charge on the day of the fatal disaster.

He asked if there was a reason the ride operator didn't race over and press the button.

"If I had a bit more time I could have done that I think … you're speculating how many seconds … I don't know if I could have done that," Mr Nemeth replied.

Mr Nemeth later said there would not have been enough time to run the 10m to the unload area and press the button.

 

 

"You didn't even try did you?" Mr Eberhardt asked.

"No, I didn't try."

Earlier this morning, Mr Nemeth was asked by barrister for Roozi Araghi's family, Toby Neilsen, whether it was possible he hit the wrong buttons in the control room in panic.

"I can't comment on that," he said.

The inquest will resume after lunch with junior ride operator Courtney Williams will take the stand.

 

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3.33pm "I'd never been in that situation before ... so I had to think on my feet, really," Ms Williams tells the inquest about the tragedy. She says she also had no CPR or first aid training.

3.07pm Courtney Williams tells inquest she believes there should have been more training on the Thunder River Rapids ride because she didn't believe she had "sufficient training on parts I now know I should have".

3.06pm Ride operator Courtney Williams tells the court she thought the ride would shut down if water levels dropped.

3.04pm Ms Williams says she was trained on being a level-two operator and a deckhand on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the same time. She tells the Dreamworld inquest that was quite normal at the park.

3.01pm "Do you think, Ms Williams, it would have been important for you to be told that button stopped the conveyor," counsel assisting the coroner Rhiannon Helsen asks.

"Yes," Ms Williams replies.

2.59pm She tells the inquest her trainer said "don't worry about it, no one ever uses it" when pointing out the e-stop button from a distance. Ms Williams says she didn't know what part of the ride the button actually stopped.

2.53pm Ms Williams says she was never shown how to top the conveyor on the ride, or how to use the e-stop button that would shut down the ride in two seconds. Her trainer says she was shown how to shut down the conveyor.

2.43pm Ms Williams tells the Dreamworld inquest her role didn't have as much responsibility as the level-three ride operator. "I didn't have as much responsibility in terms of the main control panel," she says.

2.35pm Ms Williams undertook 1.5 hours of training for the Thunder River Rapids ride on the morning of the Dreamworld disaster. She says the ride was one of the "top two in the park" in terms of complexity.

2.25pm Courtney Williams tells the inquest October 25, 2016 was the last day of her employment at Dreamworld - the day of the accident.

2.23pm We are back on in the Dreamworld inquest. Ride operator Courtney Williams has taken the stand. She says she started at the park in July 2015.

1pm The Dreamworld inquest has been adjourned until 2.15pm. We ended the last session with ride operator Peter Nemeth conceding he never tried to push the two-second emergency stop button.

 

12.34pm Dreamworld barrister James Bell has now begun his cross-examination of Mr Nemeth. He says he wants to talk about his experience and training relating to the fatal Thunder River Rapids ride.

12.07pm Ride operator Peter Nemeth says three days after the incident he wasn't sure exactly which sequence of events he did things: "At that time I wasn't sure what I was doing, (it was) after three days of no sleep and over-thinking the situation but things became clearer later on."

11.20am Dreamworld inquest hears the there was an incident where a person fell out of the Log Ride several months before the tragedy and more CCTV cameras were installed in the area.

Mr Nemeth says Dreamworld never levelled any critique of the way he performed on the day of the disaster on the Thunder River Rapids ride that killed four people.

 

Kate Goodchild. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied
Kate Goodchild. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied

 

Luke Dorsett. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied
Luke Dorsett. Picture: AAP Image/Supplied

 

FAMILY TO OPERATOR: WE DON'T BLAME YOU

THE family of Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett have told senior ride operator Peter Nemeth they do not hold him responsible for the deaths of their loved ones.

In an extraordinary gesture, the family told Mr Nemeth through their barrister, Steven Whybrow, they wanted him to know they did not believe his actions in operating the Thunder River Rapids ride in October 2016 killed the pair.

"As far as they are concerned, I have been instructed to tell you that, they don't hold you in the least bit responsible for what happened that day, do you understand that?" Mr Whybrow said at the beginning of his cross-examination of Mr Nemeth during the inquest being held into their deaths.

 

 

 

RIDE OPERATOR HAD NO FIRST AID TRAINING

SENIOR ride operator Peter Nemeth has told an inquest into the deaths of four people at Dreamworld he was not trained in first aid or CPR, despite being the main person in charge of the water-based ride.

Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low were killed when their raft flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park in October, 2016, after one of the pumps failed.

During the third day of the inquest into their deaths, being held at Southport Courthouse, Mr Nemeth said he did not receive any first aid or CPR training as part of his role as a level-three ride operator.

"Did you have any training at all in responding to large-scale emergency situations?" Matthew Hickey, barrister for the Low family asked.

"No," Mr Nemeth said.

He was later asked if any Dreamworld employee had training to respond to "catastrophic situations" or "large-scale threats to public safety within the premises of Dreamworld"

"No," Mr Nemeth said.

Cindy Low, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Roozi Araghi died on the Thunder River Rapids ride in October 2016.
Cindy Low, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Roozi Araghi died on the Thunder River Rapids ride in October 2016.

The ride operator told the inquest safety and first aid training was provided to aquatics staff and life guards at Dreamworld.

Earlier in the week the inquest heard there had been previous incidents on the Thunder River Rapids ride where rafts had flipped several years before the fatal accident.

"We're you made aware during the course of your training for the Thunder River Rapids ride of the types of problems that would occur?" Mr Hickey asked.

"Yes, we talked about that, as is my recollection of the training," Mr Nemeth replied.

Mr Hickey then asked the ride operator if he had been told rafts had the tendency to flip on the ride.

 

 

"No, definitely not, I cannot recall that one," Mr Nemeth said.

Mr Nemeth was later taken through some 36 tasks he had to make sure were done on the ride every 35 seconds, as a raft was loaded in peak periods.

Mr Hickey asked: "It is impossible for a human to do all those things in less than a minute. Do you agree?"

"Yes, I agree," Mr Nemeth said.

The ride operator later conceded it would have made his job easier if another level-three operator had been stationed to that ride on the day of the fatal accident, not a level-two operator.

"It would have made it easier for me, yes," he said.

The inquest continues today.

 

 

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10.55am Barrister Steven Whybrow, for the family of Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, tells Mr Nemeth: "As far as they are concerned I have been instructed to tell you that they don't hold you in the least bit responsible for what happened that day, do you understand that?"

10.34am Mr Nemeth tells the inquest the only time the spacing between rafts can be controlled on the Thunder River Rapids was when they were being sent off on the ride.

10.32am Matthew Hickey, barrister for the Low family, asks whether anyone at Dreamworld received training in responding to "large-scale emergencies", "catastrophic situations" or threats to public safety. Mr Nemeth replies: "No" to all questions.

 

10.18am Daily log documents being showed to the Dreamworld inquest show between October 18 and 23 the first aid kit at the Thunder River Rapids ride was not fully stocked. Mr Nemeth says usually it was a lack of band aids that made him tick the "not fully stocked" box.

The first aid kit remained unstocked on the day of the #Dreamworlddisaster, the inquest is told.

 

 

 

10.14am Peter Nemeth tells the inquest he was not trained in CPR, first aid or how to rescue people that might become trapped in the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld

10.10am The third day of the Dreamworld inquest has begun at the Southport Courthouse. Ride operator Peter Nemeth is still being cross-examined by Matthew Hickey, barrister for the Low family.

 

 

DREAMWORLD ride operators will provide their version of events regarding the October 2016 tragedy at the Gold Coast theme park to a Queensland inquest on Wednesday.

Main ride operator Peter Nemeth will continue giving evidence to the inquest into the deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi when the inquest resumes at Southport.

 

 

 

STAFF MEMBER PUSHED EMERGENCY BUTTON TWO OR THREE TIMES

On Tuesday, Mr Nemeth told the inquest he'd noticed the raft carrying the guests on a collision course to a stricken raft following a water pump malfunction.

 

 

Despite pushing a button to stop the ride's conveyor "two or three times", the attraction did not immediately shut down and the two rafts collided. The four victims were killed instantly after being thrown from the raft into the conveyor mechanism.

 

 

 

 

Ms Goodchild's 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low's 10-year-old son survived the accident.

Mr Nemeth, who said he was among the "top 10" operators in the theme park, was unaware the button he pressed did not bring the conveyor to an immediate halt. Instead a police investigation revealed it took up to nine seconds for the ride to stop.

"I am surprised to learn that," Mr Nemeth said.

 

 

"I assumed the conveyor stop button would stop the ride instantly." The ride's water pump had failed twice already on the day of the tragedy and Mr Nemeth had been informed to shut down the ride if it happened again. He said he did not know that was a park policy until that day and had been operating other rides in the past where up to six malfunctions had happened and the ride continued to take guests.

 

 

"It was a regular occurrence," he said, adding he had been working on the Thunder River Rapids ride a week before the tragedy when the pump had failed. The other ride operator at the time of the tragedy, Courtney Williams, is also expected to give evidence on Wednesday.

The inquest heard on Tuesday Ms Williams had only been trained on her role for the attraction on the morning of the tragedy.

The inquest resumes at 10am.