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New Texas Giant Death At Six Flags Over Texas
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.
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?