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Dreamworld to reopen after COVID closure

Dreamworld will reopen to visitors two weeks before its parent company is set to be sentenced for safety offences following the deaths of four tourists on the Thunder River Rapids Ride four years ago.

Ardent Leisure said on Wednesday it would start a staged reopening from September 16 of the Gold Coast theme park after closing in March due to coronavirus health restrictions.

The gates will be thrown open a fortnight before the company faces court to be sentenced on September 28 for breaching the Work Health and Safety Act.

Ardent pleaded guilty in July to three counts of failing to comply with its health and safety duty and exposing individuals to a risk of serious injury or death.

The charges relate to the tragic deaths of Cindy Low, Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi.

The holidaymakers were killed on October 25, 2016, when they were thrown from a Thunder River Rapids Ride raft into a mechanised conveyor that moved the rafts below the water.

Their raft had collided with another and partially flipped after becoming stuck when the ageing ride’s water pump malfunctioned, causing water levels to fall dangerously low.

The pump failure was the third that day and the fifth in a week, and no automated shutdown function was installed despite recommendations.

Ms Goodchild’s 12-year-old daughter and Ms Low’s 10-year-old son survived the incident.

Queensland’s Workplace Health and Safety prosecutor Aaron Guilfoyle said Ardent failed to provide and maintain safe plant and structures, and systems of work at the iconic park.

The company also failed to provide information, training, instruction or supervision necessary to protect people from risk.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of $1.5 million.

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