Four Die at Australian Theme Park

Jack Hogse, Staff Writer

 Residents of Queensland, Australia were shocked Tuesday afternoon after 4 people were killed on one of the water rides at the Dreamworld amusement park. The malfunction was discovered after the raft that they had been floating on returned empty with no sign of the riders anywhere.

  The ride they had been on, “Thunder River Rapids,” along with the rest of the park, was shut down immediately after the bodies were found.             

  Water rides similar to this one are known for their violent movements. Passengers are whisked away in small four-seater rafts that jerk around in literal, “river rapids.” There have been numerous recorded instances of people being injured on theme park rides, but parks like this one are generally safe.

  Officials at Dreamworld claim that they have no idea how the ride malfunctioned and that an investigation is currently underway.

  Lia Capes, a witness, said that she was in line to go on the ride when she saw people running out crying. “I was speaking to one of the guys and he said it was the raft in front of him, the whole thing flipped and everyone was screaming,” she told the police.

  “This is a very sad day for our city,” Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said in his statement to the press, “our thoughts are with the families of those affected — and the emergency staff in attendance.”

  Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hopes to hold a thorough investigation. The theme park and Australia’s government have agreed to work together on finding the reason for the malfunction, and keeping the evacuation process as orderly as possible. “Theme parks are a place for family fun and happiness, not tragedy,” he told reporters.

    According to USA Today, investigators suspect that the raft flipped over and the passengers were caught in the machinery. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital said, “More than 92,000 children were injured on roller coasters and in amusement park-related incidents between 1990 and 2010 – an average of almost 4,000 injuries per year.” While efforts have been made to make rides safer, the public agrees that this subject is not being taken seriously enough, and to their dismay, many of their complaints have gone unheard.

  Unbeknown to most, there is no federal regulation on theme park rides. Local law enforcement is put in charge of inspecting and evaluating the rides and determining if they are safe or not. This has agitated a lot of customers, but there has so far been no government intervention.

  “It’s really scary to think that the government isn’t keeping their eye on something as dangerous as roller coasters,” says Bryce Hutchison (11), a frequent visitor of Knotts’ Berry Farm, “If I’m on a ride, I want it to be approved by some sort of official first.”