Ardent Leisure, the operator of Dreamworld Theme Park in Australia, has been fined US$2.5m (3.6m Australian dollars) for malfunction on a ride that led to the death of four people.

The incident took place in 2016. Visitors Kate Goodchild, Cindy Low, Roozi Araghi and Luke Dorsett were on the Thunder Rapids Ride at Dreamworld when their raft collided with a carriage, flipped over and tossed the passengers onto the conveyer belt and into the machinery.

Ardent Leisure pleaded guilty to three safety charges in July 2020. The court heard of a number of safeguarding failures. An inquest in 2018 heard that the tragedy may have been avoided if the emergency stop button on the ride had been pressed. Employees at the theme park said that during training they had been advised “not to worry” about the emergency button and only rely on the slower button, seven-second button.

Ardent Leisure are the operators of two theme parks in the city of Gold Coast, Whitewater World and Dreamworld. The company also operates the Sky Point observation deck, also in Gold Coast.

In a statement about the accident, Ardent Leisure’s chairman Gary Weiss said: “Ardent accepts responsibility for this tragedy without qualification or reservation. Today we accept the Court’s decision to impose a fine of $3.6m which is the largest fine in Queensland history for a workplace tragedy.”