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New Texas Giant Death At Six Flags Over Texas

By on July 20, 2013

It was a sad day for the Six Flags chain yesterday, and a complete tragedy for one family, when a park guest died while riding the New Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas with her two children.

New Texas Giant Roller Coaster

At approximately 6:30 pm, on Friday July 19th, a woman was ejected from the train while riding New Texas Giant. People who were sitting behind her said that it happened just after the first drop, as they went into the first turn. Her restraint popped open and she just tumbled right out of the train.

Witnesses who saw the woman get on the ride said she was concerned that her lap bar restraint was not properly secured. When she raised the concern to the employee, she was told that as long as she heard a click, she would be fine. That obviously wasn’t the case and something was definitely wrong. After the incident, park employees directed medical and fire personnel to were her body was located.

The New Texas Giant is a 153′ tall hybrid roller coaster, meaning that it has a traditional wood structure with a steel track. It completed the transformation from all wood to a hybrid in 2011 and has been a huge fan favorite ever since. Despite not having any inversions, it is very fast and smooth, with lots of airtime and over banked turns.

Sharon Parker, Communications Manager for Six Flags Over Texas, released this statement:

We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant. Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time.

The roller coaster has been closed and will remain closed until authorities and investigators are done inspecting the ride in the hopes of determining exactly what happened and if the ride is safe to reopen.

This accident is eerily reminiscent of the fatal accident on Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain. On December 26, 1978, a mere six months after opening as the largest roller coaster in the world, 20-year old Carol Flores was ejected from one of the trains after the first drop and fell to her death. She suffered massive head injuries from the wood structure as she fell. The investigation found absolutely nothing wrong with the safety equipment, and the park was cleared of any wrong doing, but they still added seat belts to the ride before reopening it to the public. There was some speculation that Ms. Flores being obese may have been a factor in the restraint not keeping her secure in the seat.

It’s obviously very tragic when something like this happens, however there is some good that can come from it. In addition to the affected ride being heavily scrutinized from head to toe for safety concerns, I suspect it serves as a wake-up call to all theme parks with roller coasters. I would not be surprised if everyone steps up their safety procedures to ensure that every employee operating a roller coaster is properly trained and following every procedure in the book. I personally believe that things might get a bit lax over time and perhaps a few shortcuts are taken. No park wants an event like this to happen to them, so when it happens to someone else, it’s time to tighten the procedural belt. I always feel safe riding roller coasters, but I do actually feel a tad bit safer riding them after an event like this.

What are your thoughts on the accident and whether or not other parks take notice?

26 Comments

  1. Selvin

    07/20/2013 at 12:26 pm

    That is very tragic. If she didn’t have physical problems like Carol Flores, it seems that it could have happened to anyone. The fact that she came with two children makes it a lot worst, especially since Six Flags Parks is meant for having fun. Also, I don’t think that most incidents at a Six Flags Park is a restrain malfunction. Also for this to happen to a three-year-old coaster concerns me. A lot of the coasters at SFMM are old, but haven’t had any incidents like the New Texas Giants. My prayers go out to the family and friends of the victim.

    • tatsuuuUUU

      07/19/2014 at 4:58 pm

      exactly one year ago this happened. her weight didn’t have to do with anything. and, if you hear a cliché, then you ARE okay. the whole thing started a week earlier. the girl fell out of car three.a restraint in car three popped open in the station 7 days before the incident. the day before the incident, the main operator said “all clear” followed by “re-check car 3!!!.” car three of that train was having technical difficulties, and the lap bar opened mid-ride instead of in the station.

  2. Michael m

    07/20/2013 at 12:54 pm

    Yesterday was not a good day for theme parks. I was deeply saddened to hear about this incident. Also at cedar point the rapids ride tipped injuring 10. has heard anymore about the cedar point incident. Luckily parkgoers helped and flipped the boat back over. Since new Texas giant is a hybrid coaster, what does that mean for colossus, Kurt ?

  3. josh

    07/20/2013 at 1:08 pm

    I say it means colossus will not be getting the refurbishment that it didn’t necessarily need. At least not this year. My only complaint is the MCBR. It’s really not that bad or rough considering it’s age. Been on much worse. Best airtime coaster in the park, better air than full throttle I think. If we could just do something about those brakes and bring back the double down and maybe some new trains, get some for revolution while your at it and call it done

    • tatsuuuUUU

      07/19/2014 at 5:01 pm

      it has been announced that colossus is closing, so instead of removing a part of the ride, their removing the whole ride. that prob means it will be iron colossus, cause its been rumored since the announcement of iron rattler. (2012)

  4. Victor C

    07/20/2013 at 4:15 pm

    Thank you for posting this informative but crestfallen report. The lady should have screamed to the ride employees to stop the ride because of her concern about the lap bar not being secured. Also when Six Flags opened the ride as the New Texas Giant, they SHOULD have added seat belts as an extra precaution, just in case the lap bar fails. Should have Six Flags Over Texas added this extra feature, there could have been a high chance this fatal accident would have never happened since the guest would have still be able to stay secure with the seat belts. I do not understand why SFOT did not add the seat belts. Think about it, why would a very steep wooden-hybrid roller coaster with several aggressive turns and dives not feature a seat belt in addition to a traditional lap bar??? Even Ghost Rider at Knotts Berry Farm is much less steeper and it not as aggressive as the Texas Giant, yet it includes a lap bar and a seat belt. Apolcaypse features a lap bar along with a selt belt and the ride features no steep turns like the Texas Giant. I blame SFOT for not making extra precautions and safety measures for the new Texas Giant. When they refurbished and reopened the ride , the seats should have been equipped with the seat belts.

    At Six Flags Magic Mountain, the only ride I feel VERY INSECURE in riding is Goliath, specifically at the point where the train car begins rolling 585 degrees to the left. When I sit on the left side of the row at this point, I feel like I am going to fall off the ride. I do not feel the lap bars are sufficient enough to hold a guest on that particular turn to the left. While it does help in keeping the line moving fast at Goliath, it feels insecure and I would like to see seat belts added to Goliath.

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/20/2013 at 4:47 pm

      Sounds to me like you haven’t been on Full Throttle yet.

      • Victor C

        07/21/2013 at 1:18 pm

        I went on Full Throttle two weeks ago and it was a pretty decent ride, particularly the inversion. I found the ride to be shorter than expected. The guest who lost her life on the Texas Giant accident was released.

        Have you hear anything about the possibility for a fourth water ride, or the possible removal of Tidal Wave or Jet Stream? I hope these two rides are not going to be removed?

        What about the monorail coming back to SFMM?

        Thank you

  5. Caleb

    07/20/2013 at 4:29 pm

    I don’t mean any offense by this comment, but was the women obese? Because I do not see how the restrain could just not hold.
    But beside that point, the staff should be checking that each lap bar is locked similar to the routine SFMM runs on Goliath. It’s incredible and just horrific that one’s worst nightmare while riding a rollercoaster actually came true.

  6. MichaelOchs

    07/20/2013 at 4:40 pm

    @Victor C, I agree with you on about everything you said, except for Goliath, I know exactly what part you are talking about, if they added seat belts it would suck and not be as fun, that left turn you are talking about is after the breaks, and it is suppose to give that feeling which i personally like because it is unique and fun. So in shorter terms, Goliath does not need seat belts , plus it wouldn’t feel comfy.

    • josh

      07/21/2013 at 11:15 pm

      AMEN!

  7. dylan

    07/20/2013 at 4:44 pm

    the women was obese, and the restraint obviously didn’t fit her. the employees told her everything was fine when it wasn’t.

  8. Alex

    07/20/2013 at 6:05 pm

    Ride ops. Period. 16 years old/$8 hour. They don’t care

  9. Jim

    07/20/2013 at 8:50 pm

    Its a sad fact, but accidents on roller coasters do happen. My heart goes out to the family affected by this death. I also hope that all theme parks can learn from this accident and take precautions to help prevent accidents like this in the future.

  10. James Z

    07/21/2013 at 2:50 pm

    I’m sorry to say I’m kind of disappointed that this article was posted, as it spreads a series of misinformation from news articles and general public that for the most part have no clue what they’re talking about when it comes to roller coasters.

    For example, do we know for a fact that the restraint “popped open”? No we don’t. So why post that information? Because now people think restraints can just “pop open” and anyone who knows anything about coasters knows that’s just not true. Restraints do not pop open, and for the most park the GP has this wrong idea about the rides safety systems and how the restraints work.

    Also, its mentioned that the restraints on this ride “click” and if you know about this ride and its restraints, you’d know they’re hydraulic, like Superman, Full Throttle, Xcelerator, and those restraints don’t “click” so its more misinformation.

    The bottom line is that this woman should not have been allowed on the ride. When a person is overweight and you restrain their gut, they are not properly secured. Going over the drop her gut shifted, and her lap was not secured by the restraint. It’s called a “lap bar” for a reason. So when you get to a part of the ride where there’s some negative G’s, her gut moved over the restraint, she’s not held down by a lap bar, and she’s not going to stay put.

    Word to the wise: whenever you hear the words “you should be fine” or “it should be fine” it should be a red flag that something wrong will probably happen. Anyone who says “it should be fine” isn’t taking accountability or proving certainty, and isn’t fully confident in what they’ve done. What you instead want to hear is “it will be safe.”

  11. Alex C.

    07/21/2013 at 6:07 pm

    I really feel that full throttle needs some seat belts especially when dangling from the loop

  12. Bob Kennedy

    07/21/2013 at 9:06 pm

    That was my first thought, this is reminiscent of 1978 Colossus. I rode it back then, I remember when it happened. How sad

  13. Corey Swidleson

    07/21/2013 at 9:53 pm

    I agree that this may be an eye-opening incident for all park employees. On a recent trip to Magic Mountain, I had a strange thing happen to me on Riddler’s Revenge. I was sitting (or standing) in the inner right seat, but had to put my hat and glasses on the opposite side of the station. By the time I returned to my seat, the operator checking the restraints for the right side of the car already checked the far right seat. The train left the station, with my restraint completely unchecked. Because I am a seasoned coaster rider, and have been on Riddler’s Revenge upwards of 20 times, I knew that the restraint was locked properly and wasn’t concerned for my safety. I was, however, concerned that the operators carelessly let this mistake happen. Hopefully this event will prevent incidents like this from happening again.

  14. Mike

    07/22/2013 at 8:34 am

    i saw a picture of the lady and she should have never went on. she was way to fat.

  15. Craig

    07/23/2013 at 2:38 pm

    Because of political correctness you are no allowed to call someone fat, the fact is only fat people seem to be coming out of the restraints due to lack of possible restraint of the fat section of the body. They have height restrictions and they need diameter restrictions too, if they are too big around they cannot ride. Come back after your diet is done. Sorry, you cannot expect everything if you let yourself go.

    • brandon

      07/24/2013 at 6:44 pm

      It is not necessarily “fat” it is body proportions.

      The issue is that she did fit well enough for the ride to be started, but not well enough to be completely secured by the restraints.

      As I mention in my comments, this style of restraint is only secure when positioned properly on the person…regardless if it is locked or not. This is a flaw in this style of restraint.

    • Mike

      07/30/2013 at 8:30 am

      lol at the end ahahaha

  16. brandon

    07/24/2013 at 6:39 pm

    Just a few points of info and thoughts from someone who has ridden the New Texas Giant…

    - While Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) designed and built the rebuild, they did not design the trains or restraints for this or the new Iron Rattler at SFFT…that would be Gerstlauer.

    - The new Outlaw Run coaster at Silver Dollar City, also by RMC features their first in-house train design with a different style of lap bar

    - The restraints use a universally locking hydraulic t-bar style restraint that must go down a certain amount before they are considered locked. That is, even if they are “locked” in the sense of not moving, they must still reach a minimum distance to the seat.

    - There are four green lights on the back of the front seat of each car that must be illuminated before the train can be dispatched – this is the indication the lap bar is close enough to the seat to be considered secure.

    - The t-bar design relies on the positioning of the riders lower body to completely secure said rider. In other words, the seat itself along with the lap bar are the restraining device.

    - Proper seating position and position of the lap bar are crucial for a t-bar style restraint to work. The bar must be in contact with the meaty part of the rider’s thighs, past the knee in order to effectively restrain the rider. (Newer Intamin rides have this as SOP)

    - We have seen on other occasions where folks were ejected from rides with t-bar style restraints. In those investigations we have learned that the lap bar did not fail, but rather the positioning of that person and their proportions allowed them to be ejected.

    - As a result, some rides added shin restraints (ala Superman ROS @ SFA) or different “U-style” lap bars (ala Bizarro @ SFNE) and nearly all added or shortened the seat belts.

    - Intamin hyper trains built after SROS and MF using t-bar restraints feature a slightly modified support bar structure that has the top of the bar (the actual cushion) at an angle to the support so that it better contacts the thigh versus the abdomen

    - Because t-bars require such a defined positioning to be considered effective Intamin came up with the unpopular OTSR design on Maverick (and others) that has since been modified with the vest ala Green Lantern…mostly because it allows a wider range of the population to ride as it is not as dependent upon the lower body positioning.

    MY OPINION…
    If the investigation proves the restraint did not fail, I am betting that this is another situation where the lap bar was down enough to be considered secure, but was not in an effective position.

    To play on the side of the ride operator (who I am sure is extremely distraught by this), they are looking to see if the light is green. The ride has a built in safety block that prevents the train from dispatching without all seats “green” so the thought process is, ok she is good, maybe shes a little scared? Its green so shes good.

    I’m 100% confident there other people who seem large, but are able to safely ride this and other similar rides. Even if they may not look like they will fit, they will. So again, if the light is green, why am I (in the role of ride op) to question? Not saying it is right or wrong, but its something to consider for potentially embarrassing the customer in front of others or causing an altercation (because lets face it people are crazy) when the light is green.

    I would hate to see unnecessary modifications made to the ride when the seat and restraint as designed work to hold people in. I DO, however, hope there will be a level of re-training on proper seating vs. lap bar positioning.

    All of this, of course, if it is proven that there is nothing mechanically wrong.

  17. Dane. P

    07/29/2013 at 10:44 pm

    good news the 1 in 20 million chance to die clock has just reset. enjoy!

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