Four people died at an amusement park in Australia Tuesday after apparently being pulverized by a watercraft.
The injuries were perceived as so severe by theme park staff and paramedics, that Gavin Fuller of Queensland Ambulance described it as “incompatible with living,” according to news.com.au.
“We are just devastated, absolutely devastated,” the mother of Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, two of the victims, told news.com.au.
“I have three children and have lost two of them today — my whole family has been wiped out,” the traumatized mother continued.
The other two people killed were Roozi Araghi, Dorsett’s partner, and a 42-year-old woman who has yet to be publicly identified.
Authorities are reviewing footage taken at Dreamworld, specifically the Thunder River Rapids ride, to see what caused the tragic malfunction. The family attraction uses Velcro-like, hook-and-loop seatbelts for protection.
The four people were very close to completing the water ride when their raft approached the conveyor belt section, which lifts the vessel out of the water and towards the platform where riders can enter and exit.
“If you ever saw a doughnut being made at Donut King, they have a conveyor belt at the end that the doughnuts go up to dry off,” a former Dreamworld staff member told the Gold Coast Bulletin. “It’s exactly the same thing.”
But in their way was an empty raft that was stuck.
The raft occupied by the four park-goers hit the idle raft and flipped back on top of itself.
Police verified that two of the people were ejected and the other two became immediately trapped under the heavy vessel. Investigations still continue.
The theme park allegedly allows 2-year-olds on the ride, according to park-goer Jesse Lovett, while the ride can travel up to 45 kilometers per hour (~28mph).
“I was on the rapid river ride with my two-year-old an hour before those poor people passed away and was concerned a velcro strap was holding my daughter on my lap and I thought she was going to fall out,” Lovett told news.com.au.
“It’s so rough and you had to hold it really tight … the strap did nothing and easily came undone because it was wet.”
The incident has left the nation grief-stricken, even getting the attention of Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
I’m very saddened by the tragedy at Dreamworld today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families. https://t.co/FGF9vsrB1s
— Malcolm Turnbull (@TurnbullMalcolm) October 25, 2016
Lovett described a scene where park patrons were not properly notified of the tragedy, according to news.com.au. People were still queuing for other rides and souvenir stores while there were four people either fighting for their life or already dead within the confines of the Thunder River Rapids.
“All the Dreamworld music was on. I couldn’t even tell that anything was wrong. That’s what makes me feel a bit sick,” Lovett said.
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