Australia Theme Park Re-Opens Minus Killer Ride

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SYDNEY, Dec 10 – Australia’s biggest theme park re-opened quietly Saturday without the water ride that killed four people and faces demolition. Two women and two men died on the Thunder River Rapids attraction at the once hugely popular Dreamworld tourist resort on the Gold Coast on Oct 25.

Owner Ardent Leisure, which came in for heavy criticism for the way it handled the tragedy after trying to re-open before the funerals, has decommissioned Thunder River. But the park’s nine big thrill spills remained closed Saturday as safety inspections continue, leaving only family rides operating.

“Our hearts and thoughts remain firmly with the families who lost loved ones in the tragic accident. Every single attraction open today has been passed by an unprecedented multi-level safety review. We would like to invite the community back through our doors,” @Dreamworld_AU tweeted. “Join us for the special ‘Open Hearts, Open Doors’ charity weekend,” said chief executive Craig Davidson.

But there were none of the big crowds that usually swarmed the park south of Brisbane before the deadly incident that saw two rafts collide. Television pictures showed small numbers of people and no queues at the entrance to the park. The company said proceeds from the opening weekend would go to charity. A coroner’s investigation into the accident is open. The park has hosted 30 million people since opening in 1981 and October’s disaster was its first fatal accident, with Ardent admitting it has lost millions of dollars in the closure. — AFP

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