UPDATE 6:00PM | FOUR people have been confirmed dead following a horror accident on a popular family ride at Dreamworld on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Two men and two women aged in their 30s and 40s were killed when the Thunder Rapid River Ride “malfunctioned” and flipped just before 2.30pm.
Speaking at a joint press conference this afternoon, Queensland Ambulance Acting Senior Operations Supervisor Gaven Fuller said all four victims had sustained injuries that were “incompatible with living”.
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“One of the rides have sustained some sort of malfunction causing two people to be ejected from a ride and another two people were caught inside the ride,” Mr Fuler said.
“They were assessed by Queensland Ambulance personnel and had all sustained injuries that were incompatible with living.
“A number of the staff that were here today from Queensland Ambulance have been deeply affected by this terrible accident.”
Mr Fuller said the victims – two men and two women – were “aged from 32 through to early 40s”.
A fleet of ambulances responded to the incident, along with three acute units, two critical care paramedics and a high acuity paramedic.
The theme park was closed around 4pm and thrillseekers evacuated after the fatalities were confirmed.
Todd Reid from the Queensland Police Service said a crime scene has been established.
“Workplace health and safety officers and the forensic crash unit from the Queensland Police Service are in attendance, along with the state coroner,” Mr Reid said.
“We are now working together with the park (Dreamworld) to try and determine how this tragic incident has occurred.”
Mr Reid said he was unable to confirm nor deny reports that the victims were from the same family.
“I can’t comment on that at this point,” he said. “Not until the identities are confirmed and then obviously the next of kin are informed.”
Earlier, Mayor Tom Tate issued a statement following the accident, stating very sad day for our city”.
“Our thoughts are with the families of those affected – and the emergency staff in attendance.
“I urge everyone to show the respect needed as the relevant authorities undertake investigations in to what has occurred.
“A truly sad day for all.’’
Malcolm Turnbull has also offered his condolences. “This is a very very sad and tragic event. Theme parks are a place for family fun and happiness, not tragedy” he said.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the accident was the worst tragedy to ever occur at a theme park in Queensland.
“What I have been told is the scene is absolutely horrific,” Ms Palaszczuk said. We are going to put extra counsellors on because people are going to be traumatised by what they witnessed.
“Our thoughts and prayers go to the families of those who have lost their loved ones.