A fatal accident at Dreamworld on Australia’s Gold Coast, which is believed to have claimed the life of a New Zealander and three other people, comes after a series of incidents at the park over the past two decades.
Since 1995, Dreamworld has had at least five incidents where rides malfunctioned or had to be temporarily closed down. Some of these incidents left visitors injured or stranded.
The most recent incident unfolded six months ago, when a man almost drowned when he fell from the Rocky Hollow Log Ride.
I went to Dreamworld in the 1980s. We were queued up for one of the rides. The surfboard one that swivels everywhere when suddenly there was a huge cracking noise and a piece of gear of the ride went flying off it, halting the ride in mid flight. It took 15 minutes or so to restart and as we were young and foolish we stayed in queue for the ride and went on it once they had reattached the part.
With hindsight it is not a good sign the parts of the ride come flying off in mid flight.
I’m not sure what is an acceptable incident rate for theme parks, but Dreamworld seems to be too high. And the four deaths this week will have been preventable. No one should die in a theme park unless from a heart attack.