Victims' family 'furious' Dreamworld has not yet directly offered support


The Dorsett family who lost loved ones Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett in the Dreamworld tragedy are apparently 'furious' Dreamworld management had not contacted them.

The Dorsett family, who lost Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett on Tuesday in an accident on the Thunder Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park, were reportedly 'furious' at suggestions that Ardent Leisure, the owner of Dreamworld, had offered support to them.

Channel 10 put to Ardent Leissure at a press conference on Thursday: "The Dorsett family are actually watching this press conference at the moment and are apparently furious at suggestions that support has been offered to them.

"They say that they've had no direct contact whatsoever, no-one's even reached out to them. They've even sent me her mobile phone number, saying, 'Can someone please call her [Ardent Leisure CEO Deborah Thomas]?'

"Is this true? Why hasn't anyone actually called the Dorsett family?"

The question came after Ardent Leisure told the press conference it was offering support including financial assistance to the Dorsett family and the families of the two other victims, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low. 

Ms Thomas admitted they had not directly contacted the family to offer them the support they mentioned they had. 

"We didn't know how to contact them, so we have been to the police liaison officer. I will not call her now in front of the media, but I am very happy to call her very soon after this meeting." 

Ardent Leisure outgoing chair Neil Balnaves confirmed at the press conference that Dreamworld would reopen on Saturday.

The park will also be open on Friday for a memorial day but activities will be limited to smaller rides, animal attractions and the water park.

A private ceremony will also be held for staff and emergency services affected by the accident.

David Randall, Managing Director of DRA Safety Specialists, said the Thunder River Rapids ride successfully completed its annual mechanical and structural safety engineering inspection on September 29, 2016.

"Dreamworld under the leadership of Craig Davidson, the CEO has demonstrated a commitment to developing and maintaining a strong safety culture across all departments," Mr Randall said.

"Annual audits have resulted in continuous improvement in the management of safety."

A statement from Dreamworld on Thursday said that the theme park wanted to assure the public and park guests that at the time of the incident the park was fully compliant with all required safety certifications.

It explained it regularly invited local and international independent external ride safety auditors and Queensland Workplace Health and Safety representatives to scrutinise its engineering and safety systems against Australian and international standards, "going well beyond our legal requirements".

"We then overlay this with strict operating and testing procedures like rotating staff to prevent fatigue and our unique lock-out tag-out system which prevents a ride from being operated inadvertently."

The 35-year-old theme park, which says there has not been a death prior to this week's incident, added that it was working closely with investigating authorities.

"We support the Mayor and the Premier’s sentiment that we can leave no stone unturned," the statement said.

"Safety of our guests, staff and wildlife is a core value of our business."

However The Guardian reported that documents released by the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations on Wednesday showed 13 rides were considered "not fit for service" following an inspection four years ago.

The documents also reportedly show that Dreamworld's owner, Ardent Leisure, had gone to court to stop records of safety complaints being released to the Australian Workers' Union in 2015.

Ms Goodchild's husband, David, wasn't on the ride but witnessed the accident.

His father Graham said he was so distraught he couldn't talk about what happened.

"They haven't even told us completely what happened but I know that tonight there will be two very traumatised children coming back home," Graham Goodchild told News Corp from Canberra.

The distraught family of Ms Low, a New Zealand expat living in Sydney, are shocked by the "catastrophic" event.

"The family are traumatised, and kindly request that their privacy be respected as they try to come to terms with this tragic loss," they said in a statement on Wednesday.

Mr Dorsett and Ms Goodchild's mother Kim Dorsett said her devastated 12-year-old granddaughter was blaming herself for the tragedy.

"I have three children and have lost two of them ... my whole family has been wiped out."

Hundreds of people attended a candlelight vigil outside the theme park on Wednesday night.

People of all ages have been visually upset, as they pay their respects to the victims.

Throughout the day dozens of flowers were left by the local community.

"It was always the first ride I would always go on when I came to the park, just the fact that it was a family friendly ride," one local said.

The Red Cross is working directly with affected families as well as providing counselling and support for grieving members of the community.

Queensland Police are calling for anyone who was on the ride yesterday to come forward with information.

Assistant Commissioner Brian Codd says police owe it to the victims not to rush the investigation.

"To get to the bottom of what caused this. To hold accountable any person that needs to be held accountable for this occurring if that is the case. But most particularly ensuring that this can never happen again," Assistant Commissioner Codd said.

Meanwhile, Ardent Leisure's annual general meeting will go ahead in Sydney on Thursday.

It will be the first time CEO Deborah Thomas, who flew to the Gold Coast on Wednesday, has appeared public since the accident.

A sharp drop in the the company's shares on the Australian stock exchange on Wednesday wiped more than $310 million off its value.

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