Fatal attraction: Dreamworld's rides have been plagued with problems

One of Dreamworld’s oldest and most iconic attractions has been involved in the theme park’s darkest day since the park opened more than thirty years ago.

On Tuesday afternoon, four adults; two men and two women, were tragically killed when the Thunder River Rapids ride flipped.

The ride is one of the theme park’s oldest attractions, opening in 1986.

It’s not known for being high adrenaline and was popular with tourists of all ages because it was considered “family friendly”.

Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride opened in 1986. Photo: Instagram
Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride opened in 1986. Photo: Instagram

7 News understands the ride had encountered plenty of problems in the past and it wasn’t the only one.


• June 10, 2009: Joy ride chopper crashes into car park, pilot and tourists injured

• 2011: Two incidents at Tiger Island including handler being bitten by Kato the tiger.

• November 8, 2013: bushfire at Coomera sparks entire site evacuation at the theme park.

• February 17, 2015: BuzzSaw was shut down due to safety issue.

• April 2016: Man falls off log ride, closing it for a number of days.

• October 25, 2016: Four people killed on Thunder River Rapids ride.

Visitors told 7 News reporters that the fatal attraction had broken down twice earlier on Tuesday.

Each ‘raft’ holds six people over 120cm in height.

The ride could reach speeds of up to 45km/ph as it travels through rushing water.

Those on the ride often leave it feeling a little soaked.

The ride’s conveyor belt system will now be the subject of an investigation.

Photo: 7 News
Photo: 7 News
Photo: 7 News
Photo: 7 News

Dreamworld opened to the public on December 15 1981 and has since become Australia’s top theme park destination.

For 35 years it’s been a celebrated tourism icon and a family favorite.

However this has not been without controversy.

On June 10, 2009 a Bell 206 helicopter operating joy flights over the theme park crashed in the carpark.

A pilot and four Taiwanese tourists suffered minor injuries.

The helicopter was destroyed on impact; it was later revealed it had run out of fuel.

Dreamworld ceased offering helicopter rides over the park since the crash.

In 2011 there were to separate incidents involving tigers at the park. One involved a handler being hospitalized after being bitten by Kato the tiger.

The parks animal handling procedures were reviewed as a result.

On November 8, 2013 the entire theme park was evacuated when a bushfire came too close to the site.

On February 17, 2015 one of the newer rides the BuzzSaw was shut down due to a safety issue.

Dreamworld has had other mishaps at the theme park in the past.
Dreamworld has had other mishaps at the theme park in the past.

In April 2016 a man was rushed to hospital after he stood up and fell off the log ride.

The ride was shut down and reopened days later.

7 News understands the Thunder River Rapids ride had broken down twice on Tuesday, before the fatal incident.

A spokesperson said the theme park was working as quickly as possible to establish the facts around the incident and working closely with emergency authorities and police.

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