Six Flags Death: Horrified Witnesses See Texas Woman Plummet From World's Tallest Hybrid Roller Coaster [VIDEO]
A Six Flags death turned a fun-filled Friday evening at Six Flags Over Texas into every park-goer's nightmare after a woman plummeted 14 stories from the top of a 152-foot tall roller coaster. The woman, identified as Rosy Esparza, was riding the Texas Giant when witnesses say her safety bar came undone, causing her to tumble out of her seat as the roller coaster made a 79-degree vertical drop. The Six Flags death prompted authorities to shut down the ride, the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world, which will not reopen until an investigation has taken place.
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The Six Flag Death occurred just after 6:30 p.m. on Friday evening at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, Texas. At 152 feet tall, Texas Giant, dubbed the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world, reaches speeds of 62 mph and has a number of vertical drops, sharp banks and turns. Each train is six cars long, with each car seating four people arranged two across in two rows. Riders are secured in their seats by a T-shaped lap bar. The 4,920-foot-long ride, which cost $5.5 million to build, opened in 1990 and stayed open until extensive renovations in 2010. It reopened in 2011.
Witnesses of the fatal fall told ABC News that they heard Esparza tell a ride employee prior to the ride taking off that her lap bar didn't feel secure. She then fell out her seat just minutes later. Her young son was in the seat in front of her.
Investigators are looking into Esparza's size as possibly playing a role in the Six Flags death. Texas Giant's seats are designed for adults who weigh 180 pounds, according to safety experts. While it's unclear how much Espanza weighed, the ride she was on doesn't have a weight limit.
"The operators should absolutely be able to determine if a person's body mass can fit inside of the riding compartment the restraint mechanism correctly fits their body and will retain them within the unit," Bill Avery of Avery Safety Consulting Park Employees told ABC News.
USA Today reports that the likelihood of getting seriously injured on a theme park ride in the U.S. is one in 24 million. Amusement park rides are reviewed annually, in addition to daily inspections which are logged and kept on the premises. A sticker is placed on each ride showing the date an inspection is effective through; Texas Giant's sticker said Feb. 2014.
"We are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident and will utilize every resource throughout this process," Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker told USA Today. "It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired. When we have new information to provide, we will do so."
Friday's Six Flags death wasn't the only amusement park accident from the end of last week. On Friday, seven people were injured on a log flume at Cedar Park in Sandusky, Ohio, when the boat they were in slid backwards and toppled over.
ABC News reports in this video uploaded to YouTube:
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