Busch Gardens closes 'Congo River Rapids' ride after deadly accident on similar ride in Australia

Posted at 4:31 AM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 07:19:36-04

After four people were tragically killed on a river rapids ride at an Australia theme park on Tuesday, Busch Gardens in Tampa has decided to close their Congo River Rapids ride while they work to understand what happened in Australia. 

Two men and two women were killed after the ride malfunctioned at Dreamworld in Australia. 

RELATED | 4 killed on river rapids ride at Australian theme park

Busch Gardens park officials say they are working with other park operators and ride manufacturers to figure out the cause of the accident. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, Busch Gardens says "Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those involved in the tragic incident at the Dreamworld park in Australia. The safety of guests and team members continues to be Busch Gardens’ number one priority. All ride attractions are inspected daily by trained technicians to ensure they are operating properly and meet all safety guidelines set forth by state agencies and well as the ride manufacturers."

As many as 30 investigators are working at the Australian park, trying to figure out exactly what happened; and until they do, the Congo River Rapids ride at Busch Gardens will remain shut down. 

Both the Australian ride and the Busch Gardens ride take a raft through a man-made river. A conveyor belt helps to move them along. One of those rafts somehow flipped over in Australia, sending four of the riders onto the conveyor belt where they were caught in the machinery and killed. 

Many are saying it is a miracle that two children survived the accident.

The amusement park in Australia remains closed. Busch Gardens is operating as normal, with the river rapids ride closed. 

An amusement ride manufacturer, Intamin Amusement Rides, also released a statement on their website. It says "Like everyone in our industry, we are shocked and saddened about the tragic event at Dreamworld. Please be informed that this ride was neither built by Intamin nor supplied by Intamin. We are therefore not in the position to make any comment. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of those affected."