30 Nov 2016

Dreamworld park to open for first time since fatal crash

1:45 pm on 30 November 2016

Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld will reopen with a special charity weekend from next Saturday, six weeks after the deaths of four people on a popular ride at the venue.

New Zealand woman Cindy Low, inset, was one of four victims who died after an accident at the Dreamworld theme park in Australia.

NZ woman Cindy Low, inset, was one of four victims who died after an accident at the Dreamworld theme park. Photo: AFP / Facebook

Four visitors to the park - New Zealander Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozbeh Araghi - were killed on 25 October when two rafts collided on the Thunder River Rapids near a large conveyor belt at the end of the ride.

Dreamworld's parent company Ardent Leisure said in a statement this morning that all slides, pools and cabanas at Whitewater World - Dreamworld's water park - will be open from Saturday 10 December, along with several Dreamworld rides and attractions.

Ardent Leisure made the announcement via a statement to the ASX, in which the company said Dreamworld was "expected to incur approximately $A1.6 million in one-off costs associated with the tragedy (net of expected insurance recoveries)".

"The closure of both Dreamworld and Whitewater World throughout the month of November 2016 will result in no significant revenue being recorded for that month (2015: $7.6 million). In addition to lost revenue, the Theme Parks division is expected to incur operating costs in the range of $4.0 million to $4.2 million for the month," the statement said.

Two children, who were also on the raft and witnessed their mothers' deaths, escaped without serious injury.

A short time after the issuing of the ASX statement, a media release from Dreamworld chief executive Craig Davidson confirmed the reopening date.

Mr Davidson said "a number of Dreamworld attractions" would be fully operational from the opening weekend.

"Every single attraction opening on 10th December will have passed an unprecedented multi-level safety review, encompassing Workplace Health and Safety Queensland's audit, Dreamworld's internal engineering review, Pitt & Sherry's independent review and the external peer-review by UK based theme park safety specialists, LTC," Mr Davidson said.

Earlier this month, Ardent Leisure announced the Thunder River Rapids would be demolished out of respect for the victims and their families.

Mr Davidson said the reopening would be a special "Open Hearts - Open Doors Charity Weekend".

"Furthermore $25 from every guest entry fee from the charity weekend will be donated to the Red Cross and Dreamworld will also contribute the $25 donation on behalf of all pre-paid ticket and passholders," Mr Davidson said.

"These funds will be distributed to those affected by the tragedy through the GIVIT Appeal independent distribution committee."

Mr Davidson also announced a six-month extension for all annual pass holders.

Dreamworld originally announced its intention to reopen on Friday 28 October, just three days after the tragedy.

Park management said they wanted to hold a memorial service for the four people who died, then open smaller rides and other attractions.

But police expressed concerned about the plan, as the Thunder River Rapids was still a crime scene.

Mr Davidson said reopened Dreamworld attractions would include the refurbished Tiger Island, the Corroboree Indigenous precinct, wildlife areas, the DreamWorks Experience, Wiggles World, ABCKids World and several motorsports precinct attractions.

- ABC