Busch Gardens closes ride after accident at Australian park

The Congo River Rapids ride at Busch Gardens in Tampa
The Congo River Rapids ride at Busch Gardens in Tampa ThemeParkInsider.com

Four people are dead after an accident at an amusement park in Queensland, Australia.

As a result, Busch Gardens in Tampa has shut down a similar ride.

The accident happened at the Dreamworld Amusement Park on the gold coast. Officials say there was a malfunction with a family ride called the ‘Thunder Rivers Rapids.’

Somehow, two people were thrown from the ride and two others were caught inside. No word yet if they drowned or were caught in machinery.

Staff at the theme park tried to help them by performing first aid, but all four later died from their injuries.

The deceased are believed to be in their 30s or 40s.

Two children were also on the ride. Both have been hospitalized, officials say.

Kim Dorsett, of Canberra, confirmed to the Associated Press that two of the victims were her children: Kate Goodchild, 32, and Luke Dorsett, 35.

"I have three children and have lost two of them today my whole family has been wiped out," she told The Courier-Mail newspaper on Tuesday.

The other two victims have not yet been identified.

Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said the park will be working closely with investigators.

"We are deeply shocked and saddened by this,” he told reporters. “And our hearts and our thoughts go out to the families involved and to their loved ones.”

In Tampa, officials at Busch Gardens took made the decision to close a similiar ride, Congo River Rapids, until the investigation in Australia is concluded, according to park Spokesperson Karen Varga-Sinka:

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved in the tragic incident at the Dreamworld park in Australia. The safety of guests and team members continues to be Busch Gardens’ number one priority. All ride attractions are inspected daily by trained technicians to ensure they are operating properly and meet all safety guidelines set forth by state agencies and well as the ride manufacturers.

Out of an abundance of caution, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay has made the decision to close our Congo River Rapids ride while we work with other park operators and ride manufacturers to understand what happened in Australia.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the ride to malfunction. The park closed following the accident. It’s expected to remain closed for Wednesday as well.