Woman killed after falling from a Six Flags roller coaster in Texas.
Last Friday, Rosy Esparza died after falling out of the Texas Giant, a
roller coaster that reaches heights of up to 14 stories. Esparza was riding
the roller coaster with her son at Six Flags Over Texas. According to
an eye witness, the victim expressed concern that her t-shaped lap bar,
which serves as the mechanism for holding patrons in during the ride,
may not have been secure. Witnesses report that one of the Six Flags employees
operating the ride assured Esparza that the lap bar was secure. However,
the lap bar released while the roller coaster was descending from one
of its peaks, causing Esparza to tumble to her death.
Cause of accident remains unknown; victim’s size may have been a factor.
Safety experts are currently investigating the roller coaster accident
in order to determine what happened.
Initial reports indicate that Esparza’s size may have been a contributing factor
to the accident. Roller coaster seats are built for adults who weigh approximately
180 pounds. Although the Texas Giant ride does not have any weight restrictions,
Bill Avery a principle at Avery Safety Consulting Park Employees told
news reporters that it is the responsibility of roller coaster operators
to determine whether an individual can safely fit into a roller coaster seat.
In 2006, a Georgia man died after suffering a heart attack during a roller
Malfunctioning safety mechanisms are not the only type of accidents that
can occur on roller coasters. In July 2006, a 45 year old man died after
riding the Goliath Roller Coast at Six Flags Over Georgia. At the time,
the Goliath was one of the Park’s newest attractions. At its peak,
the ride reaches 200 feet over the park and gains speeds of up to 70 mph.
The man lost consciousness during the ride and suffered from a heart attack
that led to his death.
Amusement park industry says fatalities are rare, but little is known about
injuries caused by rides.
According to statistics released by the amusement park industry, rides
are generally safe. The International Association of Amusement Parks and
Attractions states that the likelihood of being killed on an amusement
park ride is one in 24 million. However, amusement park rides can also
cause serious injuries which include: broken bones, neck injuries, and
brain trauma. For example, the Center for Injury and Policy Research found
that a child is hospitalized for an injury stemming from an amusement
park ride once every three days during summer months.
In the wake of Friday’s accidents, some lawmakers are calling for
federal oversight of roller coast inspections. Currently, there is no
federal agency responsible for inspecting roller coaster rides and only
a fraction of states have an agency assigned to this task.
If you or a loved one has been injured, or if your loved one has been killed
in an accident involving an amusement park ride, you should contact an
attorney immediately. An attorney can help you receive the compensation
you deserve for the injuries and loss you have experienced.