Police Still Seek Answers in the 1979 Luna Park Ghost Train Fire

In 1979, six children and one adult died on The Ghost Train ride in Sydney, Australia’s Luna Park. At the time of the incident it was labeled an accident, but many suspect there was something much more sinister about that night. Police have renewed interest in the case this year and are hoping more people will come forward to provide answers.

It was a cool and uncrowded night in Luna Park on June 9, 1979. The Ghost Train was one of the most popular rides in the park for people of all ages. The 40-year-old ride was being filled with group after group until the unexpected happened. At around 10pm, fire started to take over the building that housed the ride and the screams started to fill the night air.

Within minutes, a massive portion of The Ghost Train was engulfed in flames. Workers frantically pulled people from the ride and raised the alarm. Everyone believed everyone made it out of the ride to safety. The fire burned for an hour before it was controlled due to issues with the water system and understaffing. At around 11:30pm, the bodies of six young boys and one father were found in the remains of the ride. Their deaths were caused by either damage suffered from direct burns or carbon monoxide poisoning.

Luna Park was immediately shut down for a federal investigation. Authorities discovered the park had been warned on numerous occasions of the ride being a fire hazard. It was recommended to have a sprinkler system installed and a 12 month time limit was given to the park by the fire brigade just one month prior to the incident. The final report stated that Luna Park had failed its duty of care to patrons, but not drastically enough “to support a charge of criminal negligence.”  

Some witnesses at the park that day claimed the fire was not due to negligence but rather an act of arson. They claim to have smelled kerosene and overheard a group of men talking about “kerosene and matches.” Many of these witnesses were never interviewed by officials after the incident.

Now, here is where it gets really creepy. Years later a chilling picture resurfaced of one of the young boys at the ferry right before the park. Standing next to him is a man dressed in a strange horned bull like mask complete with horns. The park did not hire costumed performers, nor has the man ever been identified. This led some people to believe the tragedy was an ancient ritual where the children are sacrificed to the god in an oven often depicted as a giant bull.

After the case was reopened in 2021, it was announced there was a “unique” million dollar reward for any information about the 1979 Ghost Train fire. Investigators are hoping the money will encourage someone to provide answers into the incident, even if it does not lead to an arrest.

Today, the park has new owners, and the Big Top concert venue stands where the Ghost Train once burned. 

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