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Ardent Leisure share price crashes 21% lower on Dreamworld inquest

The Ardent Leisure Group Ltd (ASX: ALG) share price has been amongst the worst performers on the ASX on Monday.

In afternoon trade the entertainment company’s shares are down 16% to $1.18. At one stage they were as much as 21% lower at $1.11.

Why did the Ardent Leisure share price crash lower today?

Investors have been selling Ardent Leisure’s shares after the release of the coroner’s findings and recommendations following the coronial inquest into the Thunder River Rapids Ride tragedy at its Dreamworld theme park on October 25 2016.

Coroner James McDougall gave a damning verdict on the way Dreamworld was run and concluded that it was simply a matter of time until a serious incident occurred.

McDougall said: “Dreamworld has a reputation as a modern and world-class Theme Park. However, the safety, maintenance and operating systems in use to ensure guests safety were rudimentary at best, with Departments operating in silos, an absence of risk management and informal and ad hoc record keeping.”

McDougall added: “The manner in which the documentation was provided during the course of the coronial inquiry and inquest further demonstrates the frighteningly unsophisticated ‘systems’ in place at Dreamworld intended to ensure the safety of patrons and staff. It is surprising, given the state of the safety management systems in place at Dreamworld that a tragedy of this nature had not occurred before now. It was simply a matter of time.”

Ardent Leisure may have committed an offence.

The report goes on to say that Ardent Leisure may have committed an offence under workplace law.

Mr McDougall notes that the significant further documentary material provided during the course of the coronial inquiry, and produced at inquest, have been referred to the OIR for further consideration. But whether there is sufficient evidence to proceed to prosecution is a matter for OIR.

This afternoon Ardent Leisure expressed its sympathies and advised that it will now review the coroner’s report in detail before providing a further response.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.