Dreamworld roller coaster operated with 'too few' staff

The Gold Coast theme park at the centre of a tragic accident last week operated at least one of its roller coasters with fewer staff than recommended by the ride’s manufacturers, documents show.

Dreamworld's The Cyclone ride was operated by one person, despite the manual saying that two, preferably three workers were the “minimum number of people [required] to operate the ride”, News Corp has reported.

The revelations come after Kate Goodchild, 32, Luke Dorsett, 35, Roozi Araghi, 38 and Cindy Low, 42 were killed when their raft flipped on the Thunder River Rapids Ride last Tuesday.

Dreamworld's parent company Ardent Leisure has come under criticism since the incident for not contacting the victim’s families after the tragedy.

In an email obtained by News Corp, Ardent Leisure’s group safety manager Angus Hutchings responds to concerns that the ride was short staffed from the Australian Workers Union, which represents ride operators.

The ride was the subject of internal reports after it stalled mid-journey in 2012.

David Goodchild held his baby while watching his 12-year-old daughter scramble to safety while his wife was killed on a ride at Dreamworld. Picture: Supplied

In the email, Mr Hutchings said Dreamworld had decided to “operate rides with one operator” after a “long and exhaustive risk assessment process”.

Mr Hutchings said Dreamworld executives had met with the union in April last year and told them “a one-person operation would not increase the risk profile of either the operator or the guests”.

Autopsies on the four victims of the disaster have been completed and the bodies have been returned to the loved ones ahead of the funeral.

After first planning to reopen on Saturday, Dreamworld will now stay closed until after the ceremonies.

Dreamworld has appointed former disaster recovery expert Mike McKay to assist with the aftermath of the tragedy.

The four people killed in the tragedy: Canberra mother Kate Goodchild, 32, her brother Luke Dorsett, 35, and his partner Roozbeh Argahi, 38, as well as 42-year-old Cindy Low.

An ex-ride attendant at the park has also told 7 News that training was rushed and new staff members were not supervised.

The man said he was speaking out because last week’s accident was “avoidable” and “should not have happened”.

The Cycle in a 13-storey roller coaster and has since been refurbished and is now known as the Hot Wheels SideWinder.

He said attendants were often given only half an hour’s worth of training before the park opened and then the ride trainer would stay with them for a further 15 to 20 minutes before leaving them on their own.

Ardent Leisure’s chief executive officer Deborah Thomas also faced criticism after a board decision to award her a $167,000 cash performance bonus after the deadly incident.

She later said she would donate the money to charity.