Seven seconds behind Dreamworld tragedy
IT took seven seconds for the Dreamworld tragedy to unfold. And they could have stopped the conveyor in two. "Push that button. That's all they had to do. My kids would still be here."
Those are the anguished words of Kim Dorsett, who lost both of her children when the Thunder River Rapids ride suddenly failed. On October 25, 2016, her children Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett, as well as Luke's partner Roozi Araghi, were killed when their raft tipped over. Roozi Araghi, Cindy Low also died.
After sharing her memories of that tragic day last year, Dorsett told Seven's Sunday Night of her heartbreak after attending the inquest hearings into their deaths. And then there is her pride in the reflex act of courage that saved her granddaughter.
Kim's daughter, 32-year-old Kate Goodchild, Kim's son, Luke Dorsett, 35, his partner, Roozi Araghi, 38, and New Zealand mother Cindy Low were crushed to death within seconds by the failed ride's machinery.
"That's all it took from when the raft went up, um … till it was all over," Dorsett said. "It was seven seconds. Just seven seconds. And they could have stopped that conveyor belt in two."
Dorsett said her two children had been very close, largely because they had been thrown together as children because she - a single mother - had struggled with several jobs to make ends meet.
"It was tough. But they were worth it, absolutely they were worth it. There was just me … And I guess they just learnt to look after each other."
Seven seconds is all it took to end four young lives when disaster struck at #Dreamworld. Both of Kim Dorsett’s children died in the accident. For the first time on #SN7, she shares with @AlexTCullen her search for the truth about what happened that day – Sunday 8pm on @Channel7. pic.twitter.com/R1GYqbmS7T— Sunday Night (@SundayNightOn7) August 23, 2018
Of Luke: "(He) had a great sense of humour. Loved to draw, and loved his music and … loved to go out and dance and have a good time and, yeah, always surrounded himself with friends."
Of Kate: "Her and her friends were very close. She was a wonderful daughter that looked after me if ever I was sick or anything."
Kate's two young daughters - Ebony (12) and Evie (just months old) were a great source of laughter and joy to all of them.
"Yep. She was a young mum, but she was a very good mum."
"He grabbed her, and then pushed her off the side."
Dorsett was speaking of the last desperate act of her son, Luke, to save his niece - Ebony
"They loved that ride. Ebony loved that ride. Kate loved that ride. So did Luke," Dorsett said of the holiday experience up to that point.
But, this day, there were problems with the Thunder River Rapids ride.
"The ride was closed so they did all the other rides and everything else, and they had Evie with them. Then they went and had lunch."
Then, the ride was reopened.
Baby Evie stayed behind, in her pram, with Dave.
Sister Ebony, 12, led the charge to her favourite ride.
Standing in the queue, another family stepped aside to allow the Dorsetts to take their place.
Then, as the six-person raft was at the peak of its track, the equipment failed.
Ahead on @SundayNightOn7 - the deadly twist of fate that leads to tragedy at #Dreamworld. Plus the final act of heroism that saved young Ebony's life - that's next on @Channel7. pic.twitter.com/mqC4lZtxvI— Sunday Night (@SundayNightOn7) August 26, 2018
"I think he (Luke) realised what was happening, I suppose, and he saw Ebony falling, and he grabbed her, steadied her, and then pushed her off the side. Saved his niece, absolutely. It was over and done with so quickly. Just went up, and that was it."
The four adults were caught by heavy wooden sleepers.
Kate's partner, Dave, rushed forward as he saw the tragedy unfold before him:
"Dave just jumped … jumped through and jumped in to grab Kate. He just hung on to Katie,
and, um, he just kept apologising to me that he didn't (try to) save Luke as well, but he couldn't let her go … It must've been awful for him."
Dorsett says she had a premonition things were not going to go well with that outing while on a family trip to the Gold Coast. They were there to attend a wedding, but had decided to make a holiday out of it.
They'd already been to Dreamworld twice.
But the night before, Dorsett says she had a foreboding.
"I felt really uneasy about the day before they … that something was going to happen," she said. "I remember waking up and just had an uneasy feeling, but never in my wildest dreams was going to happen to the kids or anybody I knew, just that, you know, something wasn't quite right."
In the end, their fate was sealed on the spur of the moment.
The siblings had been debating whether or not to go to SeaWorld.
"I don't know who said what, but someone just said 'We're just going to Dreamworld'.
So … toss of a coin."
Dorsett says she hadn't been interested in Dreamworld. So she went shopping instead.
"They all took that time to say goodbye that morning … I don't know why, but Roozi got out of the car to let me out, and just gave me a hug and said, 'Have a good day. We'll see you later'. And he's never done that before.
"And Kate blew me a kiss, and …. Ebony blew me a kiss, and, yeah. Strange.
"They all got into the car and left. Then three of them just never came back.
"And I live that moment forever."
"I was in the unit, and I'd been packing stuff, and then picked up my phone and realised I had six missed calls," Dorsett said.
"So I started to panic a bit thinking something must have happened to Ebony, and I rang Kate. There was no answer. So I rang Dave, and there was no answer. And I rang Luke, and there was no answer."
Then the police knocked on the door.
"And then two policeman came and told me that it was the three of them … which was just … surreal. Just absolutely surreal. Thinking that you'd lost one, all three of them was … and at Dreamworld - like, I just could not … to go to a park and not come home."
Ebony, after witnessing the death of her mother and uncle, was worried about her grandmother.
"All she was worried about was me. 'Are you OK? Are you OK, Nanny?' And holding my hand. And … it just was so sad."
Dorsett said she was not happy with how Ardent Leisure had handled the tragedy. Especially Chief executive Deborah Thomas.
"I don't know what they were thinking, but she had said that she'd spoken to the family members," Dorsett said. "I think I did get a bit annoyed at that, because I knew that wasn't true."
She said she had owed it to her children and grandchildren to sit through the testimony and watch the CCTV vision of that tragic day.
"I guess the big thing is that if anyone would have pushed that button to stop that conveyor belt, anybody - that's all they had to do was to push that button, my kids would still be here."