A family ripped apart by the Dreamworld disaster is facing more unfathomable heartbreak, with a dad who watched his wife and two other family members die in the catastrophe now missing, feared drowned.
Police divers were yesterday searching in blizzard-like conditions near Canberra for Dave Turner, whose “soulmate” Kate Goodchild was one of four people killed on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park in 2016.
Their 12-year-old daughter Ebony, who was on the ride, miraculously survived the calamity, which Turner witnessed while minding her baby sister Evie in pram nearby.
Turner’s car was found at Uriarra Crossing, about 30km west of the national capital, on Thursday and police and emergency services volunteers launched an extensive search of bushland and waterways.
It is believed Taylor may deliberately have entered the fast-flowing water and police hold grave fears for his safety, with his family believed to be braced for the worst.
Family friends said even though he had found love again and married a new partner, he never truly recovered from the horror of that day in 2016.
“Kate was his soulmate, she was everything to him,” said a friend.
“She kept him centred and without that he was just lost.
“And it’s impossible to know how you would react going through what he went through that day.”
Searchers were yesterday battling atrocious conditions, including 130km/h wind gusts and snow, with a severe weather warning issued for the area.
Turner was one of the first parties to reach a settlement with Dreamworld’s owners Ardent Leisure, receiving a seven-figure payout before the inquest had even concluded.
Along with Goodchild, the family also lost her brother, Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi when the Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned, causing rafts to capsize onto the conveyor belt.
Those close to the family said Turner was never the same afterwards.
He dived into the murky water several times in a desperate bid to save Kate, only to be pulled back by Dreamworld staff trying to shield him from the horror.
Turner was later seen wandering the Dreamworld car park in a daze, shirtless and covered in mud and grease.
The inquest into the disaster heard that he yelled out to Dreamworld staff in anguish: “Why didn’t you stop the ride?”
Turner’s mother, Gillian – who also tragically died last year – told media after the disaster that Kate had died in his arms.
“My son managed to get to Kate who died in his arms, with Kim (Dorsett, Kate and Luke’s mother) and my granddaughter (Ebony), screaming looking on,” she said at the time.
“I would like to believe that my 12-year-old granddaughter was saved so she could tell her little sister what a wonderful mum Kate was.”
After the first week of the inquest, Turner and other family members released a statement in which they said they held Dreamworld “totally responsible”.
“We are tired and devastated and horrified by the evidence that has come out this week,” they said.
“We hold Dreamworld totally responsible for this tragic event that could have so easily been avoided.
“It has throttled our family.”
Yesterday an ACT Policing spokeswoman said police, including divers, were continuing the search of the Murrumbidgee River “as it is believed the man may have entered the fast-running waters”.
“The family has requested privacy at this time,” she said.
A Turner family member told the Sunday Mail that they did not wish to comment at this stage.
Dreamworld owner Ardent Leisure was fined a record A$3.6 million last September after pleading guilty to breaching workplace health and safety laws over the Thunder River Rapids ride tragedy.
The fine followed a scathing report by Coroner James McDougall who found there had been a “systematic failure by Dreamworld in relation to all aspects of safety” and referred Ardent for possible prosecution.
Kim Dorsett delivered a heart-wrenching victim impact statement at the sentencing hearing, telling the court that she cried “for my lost children every day”.
“Kissing them one last time, they were as cold as ice,” she said.
“I just wanted to wrap them in a blanket.”
Where to get help:
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youth services: (06) 3555 906
• Youthline: 0800 376 633
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155
• CASPER Suicide Prevention
If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
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