Tragic accident on "Texas Giant" at Six Flags kills one
The "Texas Giant" - the tallest steel/wood hybrid rollercoaster in the world - was the site of a tragic accident on July 9, when a woman riding with her children fell from the ride and lost her life. The coaster, one of the key attractions at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, remains closed as representatives from the park continue the investigation into the death; it will remain closed until the Texas Department of Insurance receives the all-clear from an independent expert.
A similar rollercoaster at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio (another Six Flags-controlled amusement park) was also shut down just in case investigators find a systemic flaw in the design, manufacture or installation of the coaster that could lead to injuries there as well.
The Tarrant County medical examiner's office has examined the victim, a 52-year-old Dallas woman, and determined that she died of massive injuries consistent with her fall.
While the investigation into whether or not the coaster itself (or the safety lock mechanism that should have held the victim securely in her seat) is a defective product continues, reports indicate that a criminal investigation is unlikely, especially given that no alcohol or intoxicants were found in the ride's operators.
A key puzzle for investigators now is whether the victim feared - and expressed - that her safety bar was not fully engaged. There are conflicting witness reports that the victim specifically asked a ride attendant if her bar was fastened because she only heard one "click." One witness reports that the victim was specifically told that the safety mechanism was functioning properly.
Only time will tell if any of the theories being bandied about in the media - the victim was overweight and the bar couldn't engage, among others - has any bearing on the investigation. In the meantime, though, a Dallas family must learn to live without the woman they loved.
Source: WFAA (ABC), "ME rules women's death caused by fall from Six Flags roller coaster," Marjorie Owens and Jim Douglas, July 22, 2013.