On Friday evening July 19, just after 6:30 p.m., a woman apparently fell to her death from a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. The woman, according to a witness, had expressed concern to an attendant, at the time of boarding, that she was not properly secured in her seat. The ride worker reportedly appeared unconcerned about her complaint.
A spokesperson for the park confirmed that the woman died while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster, but would not conform how she died. Witnesses however, told local news media that the woman tumbled over the side of the car, and screamed as the coaster made a sudden maneuver.
Six Flags released another short statement early Saturday morning:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family. The investigation into the death at Texas Giant is still ongoing. We are working closely with authorities to determine the cause of the accident. The ride will remain closed. In addition, we have canceled the concert that was scheduled for today.”
According to the Dallas Morning News, other passengers on the ride were hysterical as they waited to disembark
John Putman told USA Today that he was in line awaiting his turn on the ride when the car from which the woman fell returned to the ground. Putman said a man and woman got out.
“They were screaming, ‘My mom! My mom! Let us out, we need to go get her!’ ” Putman said.
“She goes up like this. Then when it drops to come down, that’s when it (the safety bar) released and she just tumbled,” Carmen Brown of Arlington told The Dallas Morning News. Brown said she was waiting in line to get on the ride when the accident happened. She witnessed the woman being strapped into the ride.
“They didn’t secure her right. One of the employees from the park — one of the ladies — she asked her to click her more than once, and they were like, ‘As long you heard it click, you’re OK.’ Everybody else is like, ‘Click, click, click.'” Brown told the newspaper.
“Hers only clicked once. Hers was the only one that went down once, and she didn’t feel safe, but they let her still get on the ride,” Brown said.
The ride, The New Texas Giant, won The Golden Ticket Award for best new ride of 2011 by Amusement Today magazine. It reaches 4 stories high and can carry up to 24 riders. It opened in 1990 as an all-wooden coaster and underwent renovation in 2010 to install steel hybrid rails.
The park clarified that the investigation is “internal” and no other park attractions will be closed because of the accident.
Friday’s accident marked the second guest fatality since the park opened in 1961. The park’s first fatality happened in 1999. A 28-year-old Arkansas woman drowned and 10 other passengers were injured when a raft-like boat on the Roaring Rapids ride overturned in 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 centimetres) of water.
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