Busch Gardens Closes Congo River Rapid
Busch Gardens closed the Congo River Rapids ride on Tuesday afternoon in response to the deaths of four people on a similar ride at an Australian theme park.
On Tuesday two men, ages 35 and 32, and two women, ages 42 and 38, were killed on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at Dreamworld theme park in Australia when the ride malfunctioned.
Tampa Busch Gardens officials confirmed they closed their river ride due to the tragic incident in Australia.
“Out of an abundance of caution we have 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,” a Busch Gardens spokeswoman said.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved in the tragic incident at the Dreamworld park. 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,” the spokeswoman added.
Two children, a boy and a girl, survived the malfunction at Dreamworld theme park, but were traumatized by the event. Their flume carrying the six people flipped after it came in contact with another carriage towards the end of the ride. The flip tossed some of the passengers onto the conveyor belt, where they were caught in the machinery, said the Assistant Commissioner for Southeast Region of Queensland Police Service.
Police had been called to the site after reports that multiple people had been injured by a conveyor belt. Two of the victims were caught inside the ride, but it was not clear whether they were trapped under water or also caught in the machinery.
Due to the fatal incident, Dreamworld, the largest theme park in Australia, closed to work closely with police to gather facts about the incident.
Dreamworld is currently closed until further notice due to an incident at the park.
— Dreamworld (@Dreamworld_AU) October 25, 2016
Quotes from Busch Garden’s spokesperson are from WFLA.