Dreamworld ride supervisors had no emergency training, inquest hears

Thunder River Rapids Ride operator Peter Nemeth (right) and his lawyer Ralph Devlin QC arrive for the inquest into the Dreamworld disaster. Photo: AAP. Courtesy: Brisbane Times

The senior ride supervisor operating the Thunder River Rapids Ride on the day of the Dreamworld tragedy that killed four people had no first aid or emergency training, a coronial inquest has heard. 

Under cross-examination from barrister Matthew Hickey on Wednesday morning, Peter Nemeth confirmed he had no first aid or CPR training, and had never received instruction or training from Dreamworld on first response to large-scale emergencies or catastrophes. 

“We had the safety and first aid department, and in the water park we had the lifeguards … who would receive first aid and CPR training,” Mr Nemeth said.

Sydney-based mother Cindy Low and Canberra visitors Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi died after being thrown from a raft when the ride malfunctioned on October 25, 2016.

The first aid kit at the control room for the ride was marked as “not properly stocked” by Mr Nemeth and other ride supervisors from October 18 up to the day of the tragedy.

Mr Nemeth said the first aid kit was often marked as not properly stocked because of a shortage of Band-Aids, but could not recall if that was why he had marked the kit as unstocked on the day of the tragedy. 

He had also not been warned of any risk of rafts tipping over.

He said he had been told that an electrical failure could stop the conveyor belt but there was no mention of danger to guests should that happen.

Mr Hickey, barrister for the Low family, questioned Mr Nemeth on the handbooks he had been given during induction, and who had provided his training.

“The training was provided to me by the attractions department because the instructors were part of the attractions team,” Mr Nemeth said. 

Ride counts and the number of people put on board were counted by a machine, Mr Hickey said.

Mr Hickey questioned if ride operators were under pressure from Dreamworld to load people on the rides quickly “because people don’t like queueing”.

“I can’t say there was much pressure on me personally … I didn’t feel much pressure,” Mr Nemeth said.

Mr Nemeth agreed Dreamworld “didn’t like long waits” for guests.

Reading from the instructions handbook provided to Mr Nemeth, Mr Hickey read out an extensive list of tasks the Thunder River Rapids Ride operators were required to complete in less than minute, including 20 tasks to load a raft and 16 items to monitor.

“Can I suggest to you, Mr Nemeth, it is impossible for a human being to do all of those things in less than a minute?” Mr Hickey asked.

Mr Nemeth agreed.

The inquest continues.