'Malfunction' at Australia's Dreamworld theme park kills 4 on raft ride

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Four people were killed while riding a water rapids attraction at Australia's largest theme park on Tuesday, authorities said.

A "malfunction" ejected two victims from their raft and caused two others to become "trapped" on the Thunder River Rapids at Dreamworld, according to ambulance service official Gavin Fuller.

He would not say exactly how they were killed, only that their injuries were "incompatible with life." Officials did not identify the victims but said they were two women, both aged 42, and two men, aged 38 and 35.

RELATED: Australia Dreamworld theme park accident

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Queensland Emergency Services personnel are seen at the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Four people died after a malfunction caused two people to be ejected from their raft, while two others were caught inside the ride at the popular theme park. (Dan Peled/AAP via AP)
In this image made from video, rescue personnel stand by the Thunder River Rapids ride at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Four people died after a malfunction caused two people to be ejected from their raft, while two others were caught inside the ride at the popular theme park on Australia's east coast. (Channel 9 via AP)
In this June 11, 2016 photo, children pose for a photo in front of the Dreamworld Globe on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Two men and two women died on Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, while on a river rapids ride at the popular theme park, officials said. A malfunction caused two people to be ejected from their raft, while two others were caught inside the ride, said Gavin Fuller, an officer with the Queensland Ambulance Service. (AP Photo/Grant McConachy)
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 25: Police at Dreamworld on October 25, 2016 in Gold Coast, Australia. Four people have been confirmed dead following an accident on the Thunder River Rapids ride at the Gold Coast theme park on Tuesday. (Photo by Jason O'Brien/Getty Images)
The entrance to the Dreamworld theme park is seen on Gold Coast on October 25, 2016, after four people were killed when a park ride malfunctioned. Four people were killed at a theme park on Australia's popular Gold Coast on October 25, police said, with witnesses describing how 'everyone was screaming' after a raft apparently flipped on a malfunctioning water ride. / AFP / Tertius Pickard (Photo credit should read TERTIUS PICKARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A fire command truck is parked in front of the Dreamworld theme park on Gold Coast on October 25, 2016, after four people were killed when a park ride malfunctioned. Four people were killed at a theme park on Australia's popular Gold Coast on October 25, police said, with witnesses describing how 'everyone was screaming' after a raft apparently flipped on a malfunctioning water ride. / AFP / Tertius Pickard (Photo credit should read TERTIUS PICKARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Queensland Police officers conduct their duties at the site of a park ride accident that killed four at the Dreamworld theme park on Gold Coast on October 25, 2016. Four people were killed at a theme park on Australia's popular Gold Coast on October 25, police said, with witnesses describing how 'everyone was screaming' after a raft apparently flipped on a malfunctioning water ride. / AFP / Tertius Pickard (Photo credit should read TERTIUS PICKARD/AFP/Getty Images)
In this image made from video, tourists walk outside Dreamworld in the Gold Coast, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Four people were killed on Tuesday in an accident while on a river rapids ride at the popular theme park on Australia's east coast, officials said. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)
In this image made from video, rescue vehicles are parked outside Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Four people were killed while on a river rapids ride at the popular theme park on Australia's east coast. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)
In this image made from video, rescue vehicles are parked outside Dreamworld on the Gold Coast, Australia, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016. Four people were killed while on a river rapids ride at the popular theme park on Australia's east coast. (Australian Broadcasting Corporation via AP)
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Queensland Police said in a separate statement that the victims had been injured by a "conveyor belt," referring to the moving ramp that pulls rafts out of the water at the end of the course.

Aerial footage showed one of the ride's six-seat, circular rafts turned on its side at the bottom of this sloped mechanism.

Dreamworld — Australia's largest theme park — describes the Thunder River Rapids as a family attraction with a "moderate thrill," suitable for kids aged as young as 2 if accompanied by an adult.

The park invites riders to "travel down a foamy water track past the Gold Rush Country, speeding up to 45 kph [around 28 mph] through the turbulent rapids."

Police established a crime scene around the ride and Dreamworld closed the park "until further notice."

Dreamworld said it was "working as quickly as possible to establish the facts around the incident and is working closely with emergency authorities and police to do this."

"Theme parks are a place for family fun and happiness, not tragedy," Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement. "This is a very, very, sad, tragic event. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives."

He called for a "thorough investigation" into the incident.

Thunder River Rapids was built in 1986 by Swiss-based amusement-ride designers Intamin, according to Australian theme-park database Parkz. No one at Intamin was immediately available for comment when contacted by NBC News on Tuesday.

American track Olympian Matt Centrowitz tweeted that he was on the ride just 15 minutes before the incident happened.

The park is located around 30 miles from Brisbane.

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