Four dead in river rapids ride accident at Dreamland in Australia

Posted | Contributed by GoBucks89

POLICE are combing CCTV footage available for clues as to what caused the accident that killed four people at Dreamworld after a ride "malfunction" on the Thunder River Rapids ride. Two women, aged 42 and 32 and two men, aged 38 and 35, were killed on the ride about 2:20pm Queensland time on Tuesday. It’s understood two riders were trapped by the underwater conveyor belt after the ride in front up-ended and two people were trapped in the raft.

Read more from

Related parks

Not good. Not good at all.

From the overhead shot it appears as if the conveyor broke. I've always wondered about this aspect of rapids rides -- there aren't any rollbacks, so what happens if the conveyor belt or chains break? (Some rides have a rubber conveyor belt, others have planks of wood attached to two chains.) It seems as if I got my answer today, and it's not good at all.

^ It was at the top of the lift hill, which did not break.

What seems to have happened, is a boat has somehow got itself stuck, not quite a boat length away from the lift hill. Another boat has then hit it from behind, and the lift kept pushing the boats together, until the rear boat flipped. The lift dragged the trailing end of the boat under water, and -to put it at it's mildest- I don't believe the people in the boat drowned. This is not to be taken as gospel, and I'm just repeating what was stated on various news outlets, but it seems about right.

Utterly tragic

Last edited by joz,

I was curious how a flipped raft would have such a fatal reaction. That is terrifyingly horrible.

Oh my..... this particular article from Australia includes diagrams showing what might have happened.

Thunder River Rapids

That diagram almost brought me to tears. How sad.

I don't think the conveyor broke. It may have been better if it had.

This is gut wrenching. I believe there have been other instances of rafts flipping on these types of rides though I don't know if the circumstances were similar.

I've never seen such a large gap between the planks on the conveyer. It's like 2/3 of the wood is missing. It would seem that if the conveyer was full of boards that there wouldn't have been enough space to grab and flip a raft. Intamin and water = tragic again. Wow.

kpjb's avatar

It certainly does look like that. I don't understand why so many boards would have been removed. You're pretty much creating a situation where a raft could easily get lodged between them. I've never seen another rapids ride run like that. Going to have to give Intamin a pass on this one, that can't be manufacturer's specs.


Jeff's avatar

I haven't been on a ride like this in years. Are there not typically operators monitoring the lift to stop it?

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog

You would think so, Jeff.

Agreed that those planks look awfully far apart.

Prayers for the injured.

Fun's avatar

Unfortunately history seems to be repeating, as this type of incident has happened before:

Raven-Phile's avatar

Surprisingly, this ride is NOT an Intamin.

From their site:

Like everyone in our industry, we are shocked and saddened about the tragic event at Dreamworld.
Please be informed that this ride was neither built by Intamin nor supplied by Intamin. We are therefore not in the position to make any comment.
Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected.

The article referenced above says the ride is an Intamin model... You'd think they would fact check that. And I agree, that conveyor looks awful.

But then again, what do I know?

Raven-Phile's avatar

The Wikipedia article used to say it was intamin. I'm guessing that's where they got that.

OhioStater's avatar

Jeff said:

I haven't been on a ride like this in years. Are there not typically operators monitoring the lift to stop it?

This is exactly what keeps running through my head, especially considering they were so close (just meters?) from where people get off, and there is a trapped boat stuck for who knows how long. How is there not someone with access to an e-stop button watching what is unfolding at the ride's exit? There has to be someone ready to help people get off, right?

I know...hindsight...but it seems that on Thunder Canyon (at Cedar Point) the boats are never out of someone's line of eyesight, and that ride is my only real comparison I can make as I can't say I'm much of a fan of this type of ride. Nor am I familiar with this park and how their safety standards might differ.

Horrific, and we'll see what the investigation uncovers.

Last edited by OhioStater,

Maybe it's a Hopkin's, but I thought it was only Intamin in 1986 producing such attractions. At Kennywood, the Raging Rapids (Intamin, 1985) hits the conveyor lift at the end of the ride after which it immediately goes into the turntable. there's always a ride host alerting you to remain seated and usually needs to turn the raft a bit to properly align the boats steps with the platform. It would seem the Dreamworld example originally utilized the turntable "station" but was modernized in recent years over SAFETY concerns. I still can't get over the conveyor's missing planks. It scares me just looking at pictures.

bjames's avatar

Jeff said:

I haven't been on a ride like this in years.

Really?!? Then maybe this isn't the place I belong...before you know it we won't be talking about wooden coasters or anything built before 2002 ever again here either....

"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

It's been a long time since I've been on a rapids ride too. The idea of being soaked for the better part of the day just doesn't appeal to me. My son got me on the Cedar Point rapids ride (bad choice with the Lake Erie water) and I regretted it immediately.

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2024, POP World Media, LLC