A Christchurch man has told of his close call with the ill-fated Dreamworld ride after his group let the victims go ahead of them minutes before the four were killed.

Two women including Kiwi Cindy Low and two men died after an accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Australian theme park yesterday afternoon.

The 25-year-old Christchurch man told Newshub he and his partner were about to get in the raft involved in the accident on the Gold Coast, but let the other group go first.

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He said they were waiting for his partner's mother to catch up with them for one final ride of the day.

The man was still too upset over the tragedy to be named.

"We saw things we wished we hadn't," he told Newshub.

When the accident happened, his group was in another raft but they managed to climb out while it was on the conveyor belt.

No one alerted them to the horrific scenes unfolding so they made the decision to get themselves out, he said.

Panicked onlookers screamed while some jumped over the barriers to try to rescue the victims.

The man said he was "counting his lucky starts" despite being traumatised by the deaths.

His mother told Newshub the couple would never go to another theme park.