(CNN)A grieving father on Friday made his first public statement since an accident at the Dreamworld theme park in Queensland, Australia, killed three of his family members.
Shayne Goodchild is the father of two of the victims of the accident, siblings Kate Goodchild and Luke Dorsett. Luke’s partner, Roozbeh (“Roozi”) Araghi, also was killed.
In an emotional statement, Shayne Goodchild confirmed that the death of his daughter Kate was witnessed by her husband, Dave, and the couple’s daughter Ebony. Their 8-month-old daughter, Evie, also was present.
“Dave was standing next to the ride holding Evie when this tragic event happened, and Ebony was sitting next to her mum when they were thrown into the water,” he said.
As he read the statement his son-in-law, Dave Goodchild, stood next to him, trying to hold back tears.
“Our darling Evie is only 8 months old, and far too young to be without her mum. And (Dave) must be a rock for his oldest daughter Ebony, who saw her mum’s life taken. Our darling Ebony is only 12,” he said.
Mom ‘never coming home’
A malfunction on the theme park’s Thunder River Rapids Ride caused a flume carrying six people to flip over, tossing some of the passengers onto a conveyor belt, where they were caught in the machinery, according to Brian Codd of the Queensland Police.
It’s a day the family will never forget.
“The next few weeks and months are going to be incredibly difficult for our families,” Goodchild said.
“We have to help two little girls start to come to the fact that their mum is never coming home.”
Private funerals for the three victims will take place over the next few days, Goodchild added. He also thanked the public for their support.
“We cannot begin to express how much we appreciate the outpouring of love and support our families have received, from friends as well as from complete strangers,” he said.
The family also offered condolences to the family of the fourth victim, New Zealand citizen and resident of Australia, Cindy Low.
Low’s 10-year-old son also survived the accident and witnessed what happened, according to a statement from a company hired to represent the family.
All the victims were in their 30s and 40s.
Goodchild said many questions about the accident are still unanswered.
“Like everyone else in Australia, we want to know what went wrong. We want to know why our loved ones were taken from us in such horrific circumstances. No-one wants those answers more than we do,” Goodchild said.
He also said all communication with Dreamworld will go through their legal counsel during the investigation into what happened.
Also on Friday, the theme park held an “extremely moving” private memorial service attended by around 400 to 500 staff, a statement by the Dreamworld CEO Craig Davidson said.
The statement added that Dreamworld will not reopen until after the funerals of the four victims.