Dreamworld Australia reopens 3 days after tragedy, but Thunder River Rapids ride to remain close

By @vitthernandez on
Ardent Leisure AGM
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Deborah Thomas (L) of Australia's Ardent Leisure Group, the owner of the amusement park Dreamworld where four people were killed on a water ride this week, sits with company Director George Venardos and Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson (R) as they answer questions after the company's annual general meeting (AGM) in Sydney, Australia, October 27, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

The management of Dreamworld Australia announced on Wednesday that the theme park where four people died in an accident would reopen three days after the tragedy. However, the Thunder River Rapids ride would remain close.

However, the decision to reopen the theme park and failure of Ardent Leisure, parent company of Dreamworld, to contact the families of the victims made it worse for the company whose shares dropped 22 percent since the accident on Tuesday. On Thursday, Ardent Leisure Chief Executive Deborah Thomas was questioned brutally at the company’s general meeting.

She was also confronted on live TV when Kim Dorsett, the mother of siblings Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, two of the victims, sent a text message to a reporter in which she disputed the claim of Ardent that the company has reach out to family, Sydney Morning Herald reports. Howeveciforr, Channel 10 reporter Melinda Nucifora belied Thomas’s claim.

Nucifora said the Dorsett family were watching the annual general meeting live and texted they were furious at suggestions that Ardent offered them support. Thomas then admitted she has not spoken to the Dorsetts because they do not know how to contact the family.

After the meeting, Thomas did call the Dorsetts and offered to shoulder funeral costs. She also offered the company’s sincere and genuine condolences, Dorsett says.

Following the uproar the reopening announcement made, there is now doubt if it could open again for now.

Brisbane Times reports that since 2010, there have been more than half a dozen lawsuits filed against Dreamworld, including by former park employees who aired safety concerns. Among the lawsuits are one filed by an ex-worker for $400,000 which was the result of his back injury caused by his moving a motor coaster the park knew was defective for two weeks.

A visitor also filed in 2011 a $750,000 lawsuit for dislocated shoulder caused by a 2008 accident on the FlowRider surf simulator which resulted in long-term injury.

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