A Kiwi mum who visited Dreamworld for her daughter's ninth birthday says the ride involved in yesterday's tragedy malfunctioned when they visited last week, leaving them trapped for 30 minutes.

Four people died yesterday when the Thunder River Rapids ride flipped at the theme park on the Gold Coast in Queensland .

Waiheke Island resident Debra Cootes said she believed if the malfunction that caused yesterday's tragedy was because of the same fault, it could have been prevented.

Cootes was stuck on the Thunder River Rapids ride for 20 to 30 minutes with her daughter and partner last Wednesday.

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She said the ride stopped just before it was due to go up a conveyor belt near the end of the circuit.

There were three other boats stuck behind the six-person vessel she shared with her family, two other adults and another child.

After a time waiting, "stuck like a sideshow," they were helped off the ride, up a walkway along a steep ramp.

She said there were other people in boats stuck on the circuit when they got off.

"It seems like [Dreamworld] didn't really do much about it," Cootes told the Herald, after yesterday's deaths.

"The ride was obviously faulty a week beforehand."

She said she felt like yesterday's tragedy could have been prevented.

Debra Cootes was stuck on the Dreamworld ride for 20-30mins with her daughter and partner last week. Photo / Supplied
Debra Cootes was stuck on the Dreamworld ride for 20-30mins with her daughter and partner last week. Photo / Supplied

And another New Zealand woman Michelle Weir, 29, was at Dreamworld yesterday, while on holiday with friends.

She told the Herald she twice attempted to get on the ride.

"When we arrived we decided to go clockwise around the park," she said.

When the group got to the Thunder River Rapids ride, Weir said it was closed. She could see people were stuck on the course, but no one seemed panicked.

A few hours later they returned to the ride again. "It was the one ride I really wanted to go on," she said.

When the group got there, however, they saw cordons and emergency services, and were then told the park was closed.

"There was an eerie vibe - you could see that something was cordoned off and it was a fair chunk of the park."