Choking back tears, Canberra grandmother Gillian Turner – the mother of Kate Goodchild’s long time partner David – this afternoon broke down as she described how the young mum died with her son at her side.
"My son managed to reach his partner of 33 years who died in his arms while their 12-year-old daughter looked on screaming in the background," she told Channel 7 earlier today.
Kate Goodchild, 42, was on the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld Tuesday this week with her brother Luke Dorsett,35, his partner Roozi Araghi,38, her 12-year-old daughter Ebony along with NSW Central Coast mum Cindy Low, 32, and her 10-year-old son Kieran when their raft tipped over, killing all four adults on board.
"My son and Kate were childhood sweethearts and she will be missed incredibly,” Gillian said as she wiped away tears.
"I would like to believe that my 12-year-old grand-daughter was saved so she could tell her eight-month-old little sister what a wonderful mum Kate was.”
As a nation continues to mourn for the four who so tragically lost their lives, Gillian today preferred rather to speak of the Kate she knew and loved – a wonderful young mother who always put her children first.
"Kate is irreplaceable - she is not only going to be missed by my son and grand-daughters, but by a lot of people."
“The families involved are devastated and inconsolable. Kim (Kate Goodchild's mother) and Shayne have lost a son and a daughter in what can only be called a devastating and horrific disaster," she went on to say.
The brave grandmother also thanked police and emergency services for their "sensitive and caring handling for what can only be said is a disaster" and asked for privacy as everyone came to grips with the tragedy.
And as floral tributes continue to arrive outside the iconic theme park’s entrance, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paid her respects earlier on Thursday calling for all Queenslanders to support one another at this terrible time.
“Words cannot describe the feelings that Queenslanders are showing towards the families who have lost their loved ones,” the Premier told the waiting media.
Following reports the park could reopen as early as Friday, authorities have now confirmed Dreamworld will remain closed until at least next week after Queensland Police put a stop to tomorrow’s planned ‘Memorial Day’ reopening.
In a statement released this afternoon a spokesman for the theme park said Queensland Police Service (QPS) had advised they would be “unable to proceed” with tomorrow’s memorial service as planned.
“Obviously the integrity of the Coronial Investigation is of paramount importance and postponing the service will give QPS the time it needs to conduct this investigation,” the statement read.
The spokesman said the park would update the public on Monday with regards to the memorial service and reopening of the park.