WITNESSES to a horror incident on a ride at Dreamworld have described how people fled the theme park crying as the ride flipped.
Four adults, two men and two women aged between 32 and their early 40s, died on one of the Gold Coast theme park’s most recognisable rides, the Thunder River Rapids, just after 2pm on Monday.
Victorian tourist Lee Grogan said his family had been on the ride earlier in the day.
“After we got off we watched from the bridge and a few cars were piling up,” he said
Another patron said his sister and niece were on the ride.
“They are so traumatised, there is a woman hanging by her foot, crushed from the ride,” they said.
Another witness said children saw the adults perish.
“It flipped and obviously there were kids on board screaming while a mum was, like, trapped under,” said one shaken man.
Guests waiting in line were overcome with emotion as a girl screamed for her mum.
Friends Claire Wooley and Lia Capes tried to comfort the youngster as her father searched frantically for any news on his partner.
“She just kept screaming ‘Where’s Mummy? Where’s Mummy?’,” said Ms Wooley.
“We tried to comfort her, but she was so emotional it was hard. We were in tears ourselves and she was just hysterical. Eventually some guest services people from Dreamworld came to help her. It was heartbreaking to watch.”
Ms Wooley said the encounter left her feeling numb.
“We were just in shock,” she said. “Even now, we haven’t really processed all the stuff that happened. It’s had a huge impact on us.”
Parkgoers took to social media to express their shock, with US Rio Olympic 1500m track gold medallist Matthew Centrowitz commenting on Twitter: “Dude, just got off a ride 15 mins ago that has 1 person seriously injured and 2 others trapped.” He later posted: “Hearing more news about the tragic event at Dreamworld today. Thoughts and prayers go out to people and families involved.”
A young woman told media there was a problem with the ride earlier on Monday, which engineers apparently tended.
“We were waiting there for about half-an-hour and the engineers had to come. They drained all the water out, had to refill it back up and then we were allowed to go,” she told Nine News.
“We were stuck there about 30, 40 minutes at least.”
Police declined to comment on any earlier malfunction at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
A man, who also declined to be named, said a girl was pulled from the ride just before it flipped..
The incident has already impacted on the financial market with reports the operator behind the theme park has suffered a share price drop of up to eight per cent.
Park visitors poured out of Dreamworld’s front gates after the park was closed about 3.30pm.
Dreamworld will be closed on Wednesday, and is now looking for a new provider of custom conveyor belts to avoid future accidents.