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Dreamworld chief unconcerned by glitch in ride

January 30, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Dreamworld patrons were left dangling at the top of the 119-metre Giant Drop ride for about five minutes on Friday, not long after the ride reopened.

Newspaper and television reports said an automatic sensor was suspected to have triggered the brief shutdown. Dreamworld boss Craig Davidson assured the public it was just a minor glitch and nothing to worry about.

Davidson said he had no concerns about it.

The Giant Drop, which opened in 1998, consists of a pair of vertical tracks attached to the flank of the Dreamworld Tower. Each track features an eight-seat floorless gondola in which riders are harnessed in by over-the-shoulder restraints. Catch cars lift the gondolas for about 90 seconds to a height of 115 metres.

At the top of the tower, the gondolas are released into free-fall, attaining a terminal velocity of 135 km/h before being stopped by what Wikipedia describes as “permanently mounted rare-earth magnets”.

Dreamworld is seeking to redress a sharp downturn in visitor numbers following last year’s Thunder River Rapids tragedy, in which four people died. The park closed after that while all its rides were thoroughly inspected and checked. Dreamworld’s Tail Spin and Tower of Terror, cleared by the multi-level safety review, recommenced operations a couple of weeks ago. Only one ride, Wipeout, has yet to re-open.

The review has included Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s audit, Dreamworld’s internal engineering review, Pitt & Sherry’s independent review and an external peer-review by UK based theme park safety specialists, LTC.

The downturn in patronage has affected other Gold Coast theme parks, with Village Roadshow – which runs Movie World, Wet’n’Wild and Sea World – reporting a 12% fall in attendance compared to the same period a year ago.

Two weeks ago, a Batman-themed, virtual-reality-enhanced rollercoaster at Movie World proved more exciting than patrons anticipated when a “mechanical issue with the chain” forced the ride to stop, stranding 20 passengers for 90 minutes.

In that incident, fire crews and theme park staff helped evacuate the riders, who ranged in age from 10 to 50, local media reported. See: Virtual reality gets too real when ride strands patrons.

Written by Peter Needham

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