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 coaster ride.
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.