Dreamworld owner charged over fatal Thunder River Rapids tragedy

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

Charges have been laid against Dreamworld's parent company, Ardent Leisure, following the 2016 fatal Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy.

Queensland's work health and safety prosecutor on Tuesday filed three charges in the Brisbane Magistrates Court against an Ardent Leisure subsidiary, the company told shareholders in a statement.

"We again express our deepest sympathies to the families and friends of Roozbeh Araghi, Luke Dorsett, Kate Goodchild and Cindy Low for their loss and ongoing suffering and say sorry to all of the people impacted by this tragedy," it said.

Pictured is the entrance to Dreamworld.
Charges have been laid against Dreamworld's parent company, Ardent Leisure, following the 2016 fatal Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy. Source: AAP

"The new leadership team is committed to continuing to improve and enhance safety systems and practices with the aim of becoming a global industry leader in theme park safety and operations."

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

Coroner James McDougall in February referred Ardent Leisure to Queensland's Office of Industrial Relations for possible prosecution under workplace laws.

The independent prosecutor appointed by the Office has now concluded his assessment and will confirm the charges on Tuesday, a spokesman for Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace confirmed.

Individual executives could face up to $600,000 and five years' jail under the laws as they stood in 2016.

Any charges will fall under Workplace Health and Safety legislation.

Michael Cooke, brother of Cindy Low, holds a picture of her in front of Brisbane's Magistrates Court. Source: AAP
Michael Cooke, brother of Cindy Low, holds a picture of her as he leaves the Magistrates Court in Brisbane. Source: AAP

Ms Goodchild, her brother Mr Dorsett and his partner Mr Araghi from Canberra, and Sydney mother-of-two Ms Low were killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned in October 2016.

The four died after being flung into a mechanised conveyor when their raft collided with another and partially flipped after the water pump failed, causing water levels to drop.

The families of the four victims have been informed of the charges before the announcement.

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