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OPINION: Memories of Dreamworld as the safe place

Queensland Emergency service personnel are seen at amusement theme park Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. It has been confirmed that the four adult victims who became trapped on a conveyor belt at the theme park after a raft they were in flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride on Tuesday afternoon, have since died. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING
Queensland Emergency service personnel are seen at amusement theme park Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. It has been confirmed that the four adult victims who became trapped on a conveyor belt at the theme park after a raft they were in flipped on the Thunder River Rapids ride on Tuesday afternoon, have since died. (AAP Image/Dan Peled) NO ARCHIVING DAN PELED

I HAVE always loved Dreamworld. From the time of waiting for school bustrips, to now reliving it all again through my kids, it's a place I can only ever associate with good feelings. And watching my kids do it all for the first time, all I see is them making similar memories.

So when news comes through that four people have died on a ride considered so safe you can take a two-year-old, it makes you rethink all those times you were there, and all those times you planned for the future.

Dreamworld is supposed to be the safe place. Different to the sideshow alley rides that are constructed and demolished twice a week, it was the place where you could push the limits with the utmost safety.

So safe, that even when as a 203cm 19-year-old I could drop down any coaster I wanted, twenty years later modern height restrictions mean I can't go on any of them.

Except the whitewater rides.

So when the opportunity came for me to take my daughter on a ride where we could share the experience, we headed straight for the gold country.

But no. She didn't want to go on that whitewater ride, she wants to go on something more exciting. And so off to the log ride it is, and I get to pull that same anxious/excited face speeding down the ramp at speed, and wait for the water to drench my clothes and fill my shoes.

So when news comes through that a man nearly drowned on that ride earlier in the year, it made me think, am I comfortable putting my daughter through something that may contain that level of risk?

And after talking to her about always following instructions, and reassuring myself that every ride is heavily monitored and serviced, we ventured down the ride again. My daughter still screams with delight. I pull the same stupid face and everyone is happy.

So how do I feel now the ride that's LESS taxing than that one is the place where four people died? I really don't know. If that ride reopens, it will probably have increased safety protocols, and the odds of another accident are astronomically high.

But the thought will always linger. I fly in lots of planes too, but I'll never fly Malaysian airlines. That makes sense, doesn't it?

At the end of the day, Dreamworld has built a reputation on being the happy place because it's the safe place. Let's hope it can get back there.



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