Victim Kate Goodchild died along with three friends at The Dreamworld park on Australia’s Gold Coast.
According to witnesses, Ms Goodchild’s two young children watched on helplessly as the raft she was riding in was pulled underwater when a conveyor belt broke.
While emergency services rushed to the scene, all four adults, aged between 32 to 42, could not be saved and were pronounced dead at the park.
The other victims of the accident on Thunder River Rapids, which was described on Dreamworld’s website as a “family friendly” attraction for children as young as two, were a 42-year-old woman and two men, who have been named locally as Roozi Araghi and Luke Dorsett.
Families in the park at the time said they saw a young girl crying hysterically and believe she was the daughter of one of the victims.
One witness said: “We saw people hysterically crying, running around. One of the daughters said it was her family.”
According to someone else at the scene, a woman was hanging by her foot after being crushed in the ride. They said: “My sister and niece were on the ride, they are so traumatised, there is a woman hanging by her foot, crushed from the ride.”
Lia Capes, who had been in the queue waiting to go on the ride, said: “As soon as we went to go line up for the ride, all we saw was a bunch of people running out in hysterics. We saw a little girl screaming for her mum. It was just horrible. It was so scary.”
Clare Wooley, who was also at the scene of the horrific accident, said she believed the little girl was in the same raft as her mother, but was thrown clear.
That was backed up by another man who saw the accident and said that a girl was pulled from the raft just before it overturned when the conveyor belt malfunctioned.
Accident investigators are now looking into the cause of this terrible tragedy while Dreamworld has said its thoughts go out to those involved.