Dreamworld raft disaster: Thomas Hanson’s mother charged with stealing from his compensation


The mother of a man who desperately tried to save the lives of those killed in the Dreamworld raft disaster has been accused of stealing the majority of his $179,000 compensation payment.

Four people were killed as two rafts collided and partially flipped on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at the popular Gold Coast park on October 25, 2016.

Kate Goodchild, her brother Luke Dorsett and his partner Roozi Araghi from Canberra, and Sydney mother-of-two Cindy Low, died after being thrown from the rafts into a mechanised conveyor.

Thomas William Hanson, who has since received a bravery award, was just 16 at the time and had visited the theme park with his family from Western Australia.

He’d boarded the ride just moments before the tragedy and sprang into action when disaster struck.

Mr Hanson was awarded a personal injury compensation settlement over the incident, a large part of which his mother, Michelle Lisa Hanson, is accused of stealing.

Michelle Lisa Hanson (pictured) is accused of stealing the majority of a compensation payout given to her son after he was involved in the Dreamworld raft disaster in 2016

Michelle Lisa Hanson (pictured) is accused of stealing the majority of a compensation payout given to her son after he was involved in the Dreamworld raft disaster in 2016

Four people were killed as two rafts collided on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at the popular Gold Coast theme park on October 25, 2016

Four people were killed as two rafts collided on the Thunder River Rapids Ride at the popular Gold Coast theme park on October 25, 2016

She was initially charged with fraud in May, 2021 before pleading not guilty. That charge has since been changed to stealing.

Her case has now been put down for a seven-day trial in Perth’s District Court in March next year, with a mention set for January, the Courier Mail reported.

Ms Hanson’s lawyers have said she intends to fight the charge. 

Her son was this week handed a bravery award as part of the Group Bravery Citation from the Australian Governor-General. 

Mr Hanson, now 24, had managed to grab a young baby off the raft in front of him and hand it back to his mother who’d been standing in the queue.

Kate Goodchild was among those who died in the Dream World tragedy

Luke Dorsett was among those who died in the Dream World tragedy

Kate Goodchild (pictured left) and her brother Luke Dorsett (right) were killed in the Dream World tragedy

He then jumped into the water to try and save the victims.

‘I expected just to see people swimming in the water after being flung off the ride … not seeing the things that I did,’ he told the ABC.

Mr Hanson has had to undergo years of therapy in the wake of the incident and says certain noises still trigger him.

‘There’s still one image … a constant image that keeps coming up,’ he said. 

One of the victims, Mr Dorsett, was also awarded a bravery award for his actions on the day.

‘Mr Dorsett immediately placed his arm across his niece to prevent her falling from the raft,’ the bravery citation said. 

‘Sadly however, Mr Dorsett fell from the raft himself, and tragically died at the scene after becoming caught in the ride.’ 

Roozbeh 'Roozi' Araghi, 38, (pictured) was killed when Dreamworld's Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned in October 2016

Roozbeh ‘Roozi’ Araghi, 38, (pictured) was killed when Dreamworld’s Thunder River Rapids ride malfunctioned in October 2016 

Danny Haber was also recognised for his bravery. He was in line for a fun park ride when he heard screaming and ran towards the danger.

He credits a previous 21-year navy career for his response. ‘We are trained to run to the noise as opposed to running away,’ he told AAP. 

It was a catastrophic sight that faced him, with bodies in the water and children screaming. 

‘We thought we were walking into the safest ride in one of the safest theme parks of the world and it turned out to be the scariest day of our life,’ Mr Haber said. 

 



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