Dreamworld inquest: Memo sent about emergency stop button
UPDATE: DREAMWORLD ride operators manning the Thunder River Rapids ride where four people died were told 'don't worry about that (emergency) button, no one uses it', a coronial inquest has been told today.
Detective Sergeant Nicole Brown told Southport Coroner's Court today the ride operator closest to the emergency stop button was told to disregard it despite it being the only way to immediately stop the conveyor belt after the raft carrying Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low flipped, trapping them.
A memo sent to all staff informed operators not to use the button.
"The button must only be pressed in the event the main control panel cannot be reached," the memo read.
The button could stop the conveyor belt in less than two seconds, whereas the main control panel would stop the conveyor belt in seven seconds.
The tragedy unfolded when a raft became stuck on the conveyor belt 57 seconds before the fatal accident.
The raft the four were travelling in, hit the stuck raft and flipped them onto the conveyor belt.
Detective Sergeant Nicola Brown told the inquest the ride operator who was near the only emergency stop button did not know what it was for.
She said the operator was told: "Don't worry about that button, no one uses it."
The ride operator was not aware the button could stop the conveyor belt in two seconds.
Sgt Brown said the main control panel as also "confusing" and it was not clear which button stopped the ride immediately.
The control panel only had a "slow stop" of the conveyor belt.
Sgt Brown also told the court the response from the ride operators working at the time had been "quite well done".
She said the ability of police to gather information from Dreamworld "could perhaps been better"
Sgt Brown said Dreamworld provided all the information requested but the format it was in made it difficult to decipher and determine which documents were relevant.
The revelations come after a bombshell morning in court where it was also revealed the faulty pump malfunctioned three times on the day of the tragedy and an earlier incident had provided a stark warning.
EARLIER: THE faulty pump which contributed to the ride tragedy at Dreamworld had broken down twice in the hours before the fatal incident on October 25, 2016.
Principal investigator of the tragedy, Detective Sergeant Nicola Brown, said the first breakdown was at 11.09am that morning.
She said engineers determined there was an "earth fault" in the south pump and reset it.
Hours later at 1.09pm, the pump failed the same way again and was again reset.
Less than an hour later the pump failed for a third time at 2.03pm, contributing to the fatal flipping of raft five.
Sgt Brown said the failure of the pump, one of the two main ones in the area, meant the rafts got stuck on safety rails, causing them to flip.
It comes as Dreamworld staff had raised safety concerns about the Thunder River Rapids Ride after a "number" of incidents on the ride, the Southport Coroner's Court has heard.
Counsel assisting the coroner Ken Fleming said one incident included three rafts getting stuck resulting in a craft flipping years before the October 25, 2016 fatalities.
A 2001 internal email about the incident read: "I shudder when I think if there had been guest on the ride."
Mr Fleming said the inquest would find out how such a tragedy could have happened and prevent it from happening again.
Mr Fleming also told the coroner how the tragedy on October 25, 2016 unfolded with the south pump failing, causing a massive drop in water which lead to the rafts getting stuck and the one flipping.
Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozbeh Araghi and Cindy Low were all killed instantly when the raft flipped trapping them.
Two children were thrown free and pulled to safety by onlookers.
He said the events on that day affected people across the country.
"It's not an exaggeration to say this has been felt Australia wide," he said.
Mr Fleming thanked the families of the four victims for attending the inquest.
"We understand this will have an emotional toll to them," he said.
The inquest is expected to run for two weeks.