|Thunder River Rapids Ride|
|Area||Town of Gold Rush|
|Opening date||11 December 1986|
|Closing date||25 October 2016|
|Replaced by||Steel Taipan|
|Type||River rafting ride|
|Length||410 m (1,350 ft)|
|Speed||45 km/h (28 mph)|
|Height restriction||120 cm (3 ft 11 in)|
|Website||Thunder River Rapids|
Ride Express available
The Thunder River Rapids Ride was a river rapid type water ride located in the Town of Gold Rush section of the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
After four riders were killed on it in late October 2016, the ride was closed. On 9 November 2016, Ardent Leisures' CEO announced that the ride would not reopen, and was to be demolished. In October 2017, police recommended that no criminal charges be laid against any person in relation to the deaths.
Gold Rush Country (now known as the Town of Gold Rush) opened on 11 December 1986. The area featured the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride and the Thunder River Rapids Ride. Although resembling an Intamin River rapids ride, Thunder River Rapids was neither built nor supplied by Intamin. A Sydney-based company was commissioned to supply the vessels in 1983.The Thunder River Rapids Ride was among the most popular rides at Dreamworld until its closure.
At the time of closure, Thunder River Rapids Ride was one of Dreamworld’s nine family rides alongside Dreamworld Express, Escape from Madagascar, Gingy’s Glider, MAD Jungle Jam, Rocky Hollow Log Ride, Shockwave, Skadoosh Bumper Cars, Vintage Car Adventure.The ride consisted of several circular rafts which can carry up to 6 riders each.
The ride is 410 metres (1,350 ft) long and has a maximum speed of 45 kilometres per hour (28 mph). An entire cycle on the Thunder River Rapids Ride last approximately 4 minutes.[ citation needed ]
Riders entered a long indoor queue with several switchbacks. The queue then bridged across part of the ride's water storage area before reaching the circular station. This station originally featured a rotating platform which allowed riders to mount and dismount the boats without the need for the boats to stop.
Riders would board one of several six-person circular rafts.The raft was dispatched and the riders travelled back past the ride's queue and into a cave. Upon exiting the cave, riders experienced the main rapids section of the ride. This section ran alongside a large water catchment which contained the water storage for the Thunder River Rapids Ride. The raft then went under the Eureka Mountain Mine Ride's station and headed back towards its own station. Before departing the ride, guests were brought back up to the level of the station by a conveyor belt.
|Date||October 25, 2016|
|Location||Dreamworld, Gold Coast, Australia|
|Type||Amusement ride accident|
|Cause||Improper maintenance and lack of staff training|
On 25 October 2016, a malfunction of the Thunder River Rapids Ride resulted in the deaths of four people. [ citation needed ]This is regarded as the worst accident at an Australian theme park since the 1979 Sydney Ghost Train fire at Luna Park Sydney. Due to the failure of one of the two large water pumps essential for the ride's operation, the water level in the ride dropped quickly causing a raft, which was occupied by six guests, to become stranded on support rails near the end of the raft conveyor and unable to reach the unloading area. Approximately one minute later, another raft carrying six passengers moved down the conveyor and collided with the first stranded raft. Both rafts pivoted upwards driven by movement of the conveyor before the first raft fell back to a level position resting on support rails. The second raft was further moved by the conveyor into a vertical position and subsequently caused passengers to either fall out of the raft or become trapped in close proximity to the conveyor mechanism leading to fatal injuries for four passengers. The other two passengers, both children, were able to climb out of the raft, still in its vertical orientation, to nearby platforms once the conveyor had been shut down by ride staff. Park operators stopped the ride and started draining the river, over 7 paramedic crews responded to the 000 call along with firefighters and police. The bodies were badly disfigured from crush and compression injuries. The recovery of the bodies went on into the early hours of the next morning with some paramedics requiring counseling due to the trauma of the scene.
Dreamworld released a statement on their website and Facebook page stating:
Dreamworld is currently closed until further notice due to an incident at the park. We are deeply shocked and saddened by the tragic incident; our hearts and thoughts go out to the families involved and their loved ones.
Dreamworld announced that the park would reopen on 28 October for a special memorial service for the victims.However, the reopening to the public was subject to discussions with Queensland police as the ride was being treated as a crime scene. The 28 October reopening was cancelled on 27 October.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate offered his condolences to the families of those affected and extended any support financially and emotionally to all those involved.The then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered his condolences and support, releasing a statement via Twitter; "I'm very saddened by the tragedy at Dreamworld today. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families."
On 29 October, the Queensland Government announced a 'blitz' of safety inspections, and an audit of state workplace health and safety laws.
The Busch Gardens Tampa theme park in Florida, United States shut its Congo River Rapids ride in response to the incident, until the cause was determined.However, it was later reopened on 26 October after a review and safety check was completed.
On 9 November, Ardent Leisure chief executive Deborah Thomas announced that the ride would be permanently closed, out of respect to the victims and their families, and that they would be invited to help create a memorial in its place.The ride was later dismantled and the location fenced off.
In a report to the Queensland Coroner in October 2017, Police recommended that no criminal charges be laid against any person.
The Queensland Coroner, James McDougall, released a report on 24 February 2020 detailing "irresponsible", "dangerous" and "inadequate" safety practices at theme park that contributed to the four deaths, while recommending the Queensland office of industrial relations consider a prosecution. The ride had endured frequent breakdowns in the days leading up to the accident, and had several design and construction issues which contributed.
Mr McDougall told a Brisbane court Dreamworld had a reputation as a "modern, world-class theme park" yet its safety and maintenance systems were "rudimentary at best".
... he would refer Dreamworld's parent company, Ardent Leisure, to the Queensland Office of Industrial Relations. He said Ardent Leisure "may have committed an offence under workplace laws".
On 21 July 2020, it was announced that three charges had been laid against Ardent Leisure, Dreamworld's parent company. The charges were filed by the Work Health and Safety prosecutor, under the Work Health and Safety Act, at the Brisbane Magistrates Court. The matter was first heard on July 29 in Southport Magistrates Court.On the day before the scheduled trial, on 28 July 2020, Ardent Leisure pleaded guilty in the action. Subsequently, in September 2020, they were fined $3.6m (US$2.8m) for the breach of the Work Health and Safety Act.
Thunder River's remaining structures were demolished in 2018.On 23 August 2019, the park announced that a new roller coaster, Steel Taipan, would take its place in 2021 and also consume a portion of the area in use by Eureka Mountain Mine Ride.
Dreamworld is a theme park and zoo situated on the Gold Coast in Queensland. It is Australia's biggest theme park with over 40 rides and attractions.
Warner Bros. Movie World is a theme park on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia. Owned and operated by Village Roadshow's Theme Parks division, the park opened on 3 June 1991. It is part of a 154-hectare (380.5-acre) entertainment precinct, with the adjacent Village Roadshow Studios and nearby Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast, among other sites operated by Village. Movie World is Australia's only film-related theme park and the oldest of the Warner Bros. parks worldwide. As of 2016, it received a yearly average of 1.4 million visitors.
WhiteWater World is a seasonal water park situated in the suburb of Coomera on the Gold Coast, Australia. It is owned and operated by Ardent Leisure and is the sister park to Dreamworld.
A river rapids ride is an amusement ride that simulates whitewater rafting.
The Gold Coaster is a steel roller coaster operating at Dreamworld. The roller coaster is one of the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere, after originally being the tallest when it was first built. Designed by Arrow Dynamics, built in Melbourne by Able Leisure Pty. Ltd the ride was originally installed at Luna Park Sydney in 1995 as the Big Dipper before being sold and relocated to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast in 2001. When it was brought to Dreamworld, the ride was the first roller coaster to be opened on the Gold Coast since 1997. The roller coaster was named Cyclone from 2001 until 2015 when it was refurbished and named Hot Wheels SideWinder as part of the new Motorsport Experience themed land from 2015 to 2020.
Ocean Parade is a themed land at the Dreamworld amusement park on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It features 3 of the Big 7 Thrill Rides at Dreamworld. The Claw, The Gold Coaster and Tail Spin. Are within close proximity of each other. Ocean Parade has an Australian beach culture theme, and has beach-themed rides scattered around the area. It currently provides a link between Main Street, DreamWorks Experience, and the adjacent water park WhiteWater World.
The Gold Rush Country is a themed land at the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It currently provides a link between Main Street and Rocky Hollow.
Ardent Leisure is an Australian-based leisure company which owns and operates a leisure portfolio of over 100 assets across Australia, New Zealand and the United States. It is most known for its operation of the Dreamworld theme park and the WhiteWater World water park on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.
The Rocky Hollow Log Ride was a log flume which took groups of 4 riders on a gentle four and a half-minute cruise through channels, in and out of buildings, before ascending the lift hill. The ride concluded with a 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph) drop causing all riders to become soaked.
Shockwave is a Zamperla Disk'O Coaster in the Ocean Parade area of the Dreamworld theme park on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. The ride opened on 25 June 2011.
BuzzSaw was a Maurer AG SkyLoop roller coaster located within the Gold Rush Country section of the Dreamworld amusement park on the Gold Coast of Australia. The ride began operation on 17 September 2011 as part of Dreamworld's 30th birthday celebrations. The ride was permanently closed on August 31 2021, due to Dreamworld prioritising future development plans.
The history of Dreamworld dates back to the mid-1970s when John Longhurst envisioned the future theme park. After a seven-year construction period, Dreamworld officially opened to the public on 15 December 1981. Now owned by publicly listed Ardent Leisure, the park has seen many expansions, closures and replacements over its 30-year history.
Viking's Revenge Flume Ride was a log flume at the Sea World theme park on the Gold Coast, Australia.
Congo Rapids is a river rapids ride operating at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, United States. The ride's name is inspired by the Congo River located in Africa.
Pandamonium is an amusement ride in the DreamWorks Experience area of Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia. The Zamperla Air Race 6.4 ride is featured as one of Dreamworld's Big 9 Thrill Rides. As with the rest of the "Land of Awesomeness" area, the ride is themed to the Kung-Fu Panda films.
Deborah Thomas' career in magazine publishing started at Cleo magazine as beauty and lifestyle editor in 1987. She became deputy editor at Cleo in 1990, and was editor at Mode and Elle magazines until she took over the editorship at Cleo from 1997 to 1999, where she "revive[d] the magazine's falling circulation and advertising revenue".
Sky Voyager is a flying theatre simulator ride located at Dreamworld in Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It is the Southern Hemisphere's first and only flying theatre simulator ride that opened in August 2019. It replaced the Dreamworld Cinemas.
Steel Taipan is an upcoming steel launched roller coaster at Dreamworld in Coomera, Queensland, Australia. Steel Taipan will serve as a direct replacement to the former Thunder River Rapids Ride. The roller coaster will become the first triple-launched coaster in the Southern Hemisphere, and is named after the deadly Taipan family of snakes native to Australia.
Leviathan is an upcoming wooden roller coaster at Sea World on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. It is a part of the park's New Atlantis Expansion, and the first new wooden coaster built in Australia in 35 years. Leviathan is currently planned to open in the summer.
"This is about protecting visitors to our theme parks and restoring public confidence in Queensland’s prime tourism assets" – Grace Grace (Queensland Industrial Relations Minister)
The Coroner (Queensland south-eastern coroner James McDougall) said: " ...there had been a "systemic failure by Dreamworld in relation to all aspects of safety" and that he was referring parent company Ardent Leisure for possible prosecution.