Australia: Family ride accident kills four in Queensland's Dreamworld

Accident happened on the Thunder River Rapids at Dreamworld park.

Picture for representation Reuters

A family ride accident at the Gold Coast's Dreamworld theme park on Tuesday killed at least four adults in Queensland, Australia, police said.

Six people were sitting on the ride's raft when its front flipped and trapped two people underneath, according to a The Gold Coast Bulletin. It is also reported that the deceased belonged to the same family and were three men and a woman all aged over 25. However, no children were reported to have received fatal injuries.

"Police were called to the site at Coomera around 2.20pm following reports that a number of people had been injured by a conveyor belt," the Queensland Police Service statement read. "Four adults have been confirmed as being deceased," it added.

According to 9news, aerial footages suggest that the accident happened on the Thunder River Rapids family ride when one of the ride's six-seat tyre-style rafts flipped on the conveyor belt that delivers them back to the boarding and disembarking area.

An eyewitness told the news site that she was on the same ride about 10 minutes before the accident.

"It wasn't long before that we were on it, and then the park started getting shut down and we saw the helicopters," she said. "We were walking out and heard that the mother, the father and the uncle got seriously injured and possibly died," she added.

Questions about safety norms

This accident also raises questions about the safety norms followed by the amusement park as allows riders as young as two years to ride the Thunder River Rapids under the supervision of an adult.

However, still some information about the accident is not clear and the park promises to make every fact available for investigation at the soonest.

A statement from the park said, "Dreamworld is working as quickly as possible to establish the facts around the incident and is working closely with emergency authorities and police to do this."

"Dreamworld's focus and priority is with the families of those involved in this tragedy and will be providing an update to the public as soon as information becomes available."

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate expresses deep regret about the accident and extends his condolences to the victims' family saying that it is "a very sad day for our city".

"Our thoughts are with the families of those affected – and the emergency staff in attendance," he wrote in a statement issued by his office.

"I urge everyone to show the respect needed as the relevant authorities undertake investigations in to what has occurred. A truly sad day for all," he added.

Dreamworld was shut down soon after the accident and the authority urged any eyewitness with information to contact the park's staff.