Victims' family send their phone numbers to Dreamworld boss Deborah Thomas in middle of press conference

Sam Hussey

Grieving relatives sent their phone numbers to the CEO of Dreamworld in the middle of a press conference after she claimed she "didn't know how to contact them".

Family members of the four people killed during a raft flip on the Thunder River Rapids ride were outraged by claims made by Ardent Leisure CEO, Deborah Thomas, that she had reached out to them following the accident.

"[We] offered them [Dorsett family] every assistance… during this difficult time," Ms Thomas said.

However, reporters at the press conference pointed out the family were watching at that moment and said they were furious at suggestions support had been offered.

“They say that they’ve had no direct contact whatsoever. No one’s even reached out to them," the reporter said.

Ardent Leisure CEO Deborah Thomas was visibly emotional as she made a public apology to the grieving Dorsett family.


Ms Thomas said that the company: "didn’t call the Dorsett family directly because we didn’t know how to contact them".

"So we have been to the police liaison officer,” she said.

The furious family then sent their phone number to one of the journalists present and demanded Ms Thomas call them.

The reporter also said that Kim Dorsett, the mother of Luke and Kate had attempted to get in contact with Ardent Leisure, to no avail, forcing Ms Thomas to quickly backtrack.

The people killed in the tragedy have been identified as Kate Goodchild, 32, her brother Luke Dorsett, 35, and his partner Roozbeh Argahi, 38, as well as Cindy Low, 42.
Psychologists recommended opening the theme park promptly was in the best interest of its employees, according to Ardent. Photo: Getty

“I will not call her now in front of the media, but I am very happy to call her very soon after this meeting," she said.

The visibly emotional CEO struggled to hold back tears as she made a personal apology directly to the grieving Dorsett family.

“I was just going to say did you say that the Dorsett family were watching? I would like to say to Mrs Dorsett, my sincere sympathies for what you are going through and on behalf of staff and management our hearts and thoughts and prayers are with you.

“I will be calling you to see what assistance we can offer.”

Following the press conference Ms Thomas could be seen copying the phone number of the Dorsett family from the reporter’s mobile phone.

The press conference followed an unfortunately timed annual general meeting, which saw the embattled CEO forced to respond to rumors that she was due to receive an $860,000 performance bonus payment days after Tuesday’s tragedy.

"[The bonus] was voted today and it's not really the time to be that right now under the circumstances either," Ms Thomas said.

"I'm not going to discuss anything to do with that at this stage. Four people died, and we are all shattered by that.

"I do not want to discuss transactions at this point."

Ardent Leisure Chairman Neil Balnave said the park's prompt reopening was in the best interest of its workers. Picture: 7 News

Chairman Neil Balnave defended the besieged Ms Thomas, saying any company bonuses - worth hundreds of thousands - due to her were for the previous financial year.

Mr Balnaves said the company would do "everything" to support the grieving families.

"The tragedy is really, really something that we all wish never obviously happened, and we will do everything to support the families," he said.

The popular tourist attraction will officially reopen on Saturday following a Memorial Day fundraiser on Friday.