Hero amid Dreamworld horror
THE young ride attendant manning the Thunder River Rapids at the time of the Dreamworld tragedy tried desperately to save people from the disaster, an inquest has been told.
Courtney Williams, a level two operator on her first week on the Thunder River Rapids, was on duty at the off-loading station just metres from where Kate Goodchild, Luke Dorsett, Roozi Araghi and Cindy Low were hurled from a raft and to their deaths in October, 2016.
The opening day of an inquest into the tragedy yesterday revealed for the first time the actions of Ms Williams on the day, including her heroic response to the drama unfolding in front of her.
After raising the alarm with senior ride operator Peter Nemeth she rushed to help amid the terrifying scenes.
Senior police investigator Detective Sergeant Nicola Brown yesterday told Coroner James McDougall that Ms Williams went in to ''emergency mode'' and rushed to the aid of Mrs Low's son Kieran who with Ms Goodchild's daughter Ebony had miraculously been thrown clear of the raft as it suddenly lurched up on its axis.
Counsel assisting the Coroner, Ken Fleming QC suggested Ms Williams, who was barely out of her teens at the time of the tragedy, had leapt to action.
"She responded very quickly, didn't she?" he asked Det Sgt Brown.
"Once the incident had unfolded, (Courtney) went into emergency mode and assisted everyone she could, including Kieran out of the ride," she replied.
While she was only on her first week operating the Thunder River rapids, Ms Williams had level two operator qualifications and was considered a competent ride attendant who had been at the theme park for almost two years.
Level one operators were considered the most junior ride attendants and usually performed restricted roles as such as ushering guests on and off attractions.
Staff rallied around her after the tragedy and she was provided counselling for the ordeal.
She returned to the park for the harrowing task of assisting detectives in a walk-through of the scene, but no longer works at Dreamworld, while Mr Nemeth took on a transfer to a position at Dreamworld's sister park WhiteWater World.
A former co-worker said the tragic events of that day had really affected Ms Williams.
"She was really cut up about it," the co-worker said.