Terrifying moment young children were left hanging five meters in the air during Dreamworld ride on the Gold Coast
More than a dozen children were left stuck in the air after a theme park ride malfunctioned as technicians worked desperately to free them.
Distressed parents had to wait 30 minutes while Dreamworld staff tried to free their children, who were left hanging five meters in the air on Thursday evening.
The Humpty-Go-Round ride at the Gold Coast amusement park suddenly stopped operating at 8.30pm and the last child was not released until after 9pm.
On Thursday, children were suspended five meters in the air for more than 30 minutes after the Dreamworld Humpty-Go-Round ride malfunctioned.
Stressed staff scrambled to get children off the ride while parents watched at 8:30 p.m.
All the children were able to get off the ride safely, but parents were still shaken when park security tried to stop them from taking photos, the Gold Coast Bulletin reports.
The children’s parents said they heard a “crunching noise” when mechanics removed a panel from the ride, causing it to “fall violently” with the children on board.
“At first it was a bit new to see that the ride was malfunctioning and frozen, the children were laughing and continuing their activity, but soon many staff members appeared and the situation became a bit dicey,” one parent told the publication.
“There seemed to be a bit of panic in the eyes of the staff – they seemed to be really struggling to figure out how to get the children down safely.”
The children quickly became impatient and some seemed scared, according to the parent.
Michael Wormald, whose child was stranded during the ride, said Dreamworld’s response was quick and calm.
The ride stopped when the decorative collars became dislodged at the start of the ride, according to Wormald.
“While the ride was in progress, the operator was constantly on the microphone making sure everyone on the ride knew the issue was being resolved as quickly as possible,” he wrote on social media.
A customer service woman was also seen walking around talking to families to make sure they were OK.
The “violent fall” occurred when technicians first attempted to lower the vehicle, but were unable to do so.
They continued working until the ride could be lowered enough to use a small step to help the children get off.
“The engineers went one by one to get everyone down, then the rescuers made sure everyone was OK and no one had back or neck pain,” Mr. Wormald wrote.
The malfunction occurred a few minutes into the ride and technicians immediately began trying to fix the problem, according to a parent whose child was on the ride.
A Dreamworld spokesperson confirmed there was a malfunction on Thursday and that ensuring children’s safety was their top priority.
“The Humpty-Go-Round experienced an unplanned shutdown due to its security system operating as intended,” the spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia.
“The process to lower the ride was carried out and our team was in communication with all guests throughout.
“We understand the inconvenience caused to our customers, but safety is our first priority and at no time has safety been compromised.”
The latest incident follows reports that an eight-year-old girl suffered a horrific genital injury during the Full6 ride at Dreamworld’s sister park, WhiteWater World, in November.
The owners of Dreamworld’s parent company, Ardent Leisure, denied that the girl’s injuries were their fault and that her mother had no right to damages.
They claim that because the unusual injury did not pose a foreseeable risk and they did not have a duty to protect the girl from it, according to Courier mail.
Ardent also said the $1 million in damages sought was “excessive and grossly disproportionate to the true nature and extent of the harm.”
The mother, from Logan in Brisbane’s north, is also suing Swimplex Acquatics, which designed and built the ride, but has not yet filed a defence.
No date has been set for the hearing.