Rainbow's End calls independent engineer after Dreamworld tragedy

New Zealand's only theme park has called in an independent engineer and WorkSafe inspectors following the Dreamworld tragedy.

Kiwi woman Cindy Low, 42, and three others died when a raft flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park yesterday afternoon.

The incident has prompted Rainbow's End in Auckland to call in an independent engineer and speak with WorkSafe New Zealand.

Chief executive officer Chris Deere said the 22 rides at Rainbow's End were checked daily and inspected weekly, monthly, six-monthly and annually depending on the inspection level required.

An annual check might close the ride for a week because of the intensity of the inspection.

Deere said his thoughts went out to not only the family and friends of the victims but staff at the Gold Coast theme park.

"It's a close industry and we have a very good relationship with the Australian-based theme parks and it definitely reverberates through the industry in New Zealand and other parts of the world. It's a tragic incident and first and foremost our thoughts are with everyone involved with things over there. It's just very, very sad."

There had been one fatal accident on a Ferris wheel at Rainbow's End in 2008 when 21-year-old worker Michael Stuart became trapped while cleaning the children's ride.

Deere said Rainbow's End staff knew the challenges facing staff at Dreamworld because of it.

With regard to safety, Deere said he was highly confident in the processes at Rainbow's End.

"We have quite a rigid process that we go through with our rides. They are all certified through the inspector of machinery under the Amusement Devices Regulations through WorkSafe NZ. We also engage an independent engineer to do what's called a certificate of examination on our rides which is a requirement before the certificate is issued to us."

A further condition is six-monthly independent inspections.

Internally there were 13 qualified tradespeople maintaining the rides with the help of a computerised maintenance system.

"The system produces work orders and that advises us when respective checks need to be made."

Rainbow's End does not have a rapids ride like the ill-fated one at Dreamworld and its most similar one was the Log Flume, which uses three conveyor belts, though they were different to those at Dreamworld.

Deere said he did not believe Rainbow's End had any rides manufactured by the same company which made the Thunder River Rapids ride, but he could not be certain until he knew which manufacturer it was.

He would await the outcome of the full investigation into the tragedy to see if there were any learnings to be taken from it.

"Health and safety is of paramount importance to us and our industry. As an organisation we are very proactive in the health and safety area. We always try and keep ourselves ahead of the game and are always seeking constant improvement."

It was quiet at the theme park today, Deere said, but he could not be sure if that was due to the deaths. He said it was off-peak and the weather was not great.

Deere did not know if the accident would deter visitors from Rainbow's End over the coming summer.

A WorkSafe NZ spokesman said rides in amusement parks that meet the definition of an amusement device were required to be registered by WorkSafe NZ.

The registration is based on an engineer inspecting and testing the device and specifying the conditions under which it can be safely operated.

"The engineer can certify the device for a maximum of two years. The definition of an amusement device is outlined in the Amusement Devices Regulations 1978."

- NZ Herald

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