US woman dies while riding roller coaster

2013-07-20 22:58

Arlington — Investigators will try to determine if a woman who died while riding a roller coaster at a Six Flags amusement park in North Texas fell from the ride after some witnesses said she wasn't properly secured.

The accident happened just after 18:30 on Friday at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. Park spokesperson Sharon Parker confirmed that a woman died while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster — dubbed the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world — but did not specify how she was killed.

Witnesses told local media outlets the woman fell. The woman's name has not been released.

"She goes up like this. Then when it drops to come down, that's when it [the safety bar] released and she just tumbled," Carmen Brown of Arlington told The Dallas Morning News. Brown said she was waiting in line to get on the ride when the accident happened. She witnessed the woman being strapped into the ride.

"They didn't secure her right. One of the employees from the park — one of the ladies — she asked her to click her more than once, and they were like, 'As long you heard it click, you're OK.' Everybody else is like, 'Click, click, click.'" Brown told the newspaper.

"Hers only clicked once. Hers was the only one that went down once, and she didn't feel safe, but they let her still get on the ride," Brown said.

14 stories high

Six Flags expressed sadness over the death and said the ride would be closed on Saturday.

"We are working closely with authorities to determine the cause of the accident," Parker said in a statement on Saturday. She also said a concert scheduled for Saturday had been cancelled.

Arlington police Sergeant Christopher Cook, the department spokesperson, referred all questions to Parker. A message left for Parker by The Associated Press was not returned. No other details were available.

The Texas Giant is 14 stories high, and has a drop of 79 degrees and a bank of 95 degrees. It can carry up to 24 riders. It first opened in 1990 as an all-wooden coaster but underwent a $10m renovation to install steel-hybrid rails and reopened in 2011.

When the car that the woman had been riding in returned to the loading zone, two people got out and were visibly upset, Rockwell resident John Putman told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"They were screaming, 'My mom! My mom! Let us out, we need to go get her!" Putman told the newspaper.


Also on Friday, an Ohio amusement park's thrill ride malfunctioned when a boat accidentally rolled backward down a hill and flipped over in water, injuring all seven people on it. Operators stopped the Shoot the Rapids water ride after the accident, said officials with Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.

Cedar Point officials wouldn't say how the boat landed after rolling downhill. But witnesses told the Sandusky Register newspaper the boat flipped on its side or upside down.

Matthew Orr, of Euclid, Ohio, was at the park and said people were belted into the boat and were trapped.

"We jumped in and helped them get out," he told the newspaper. "If we didn't help, I don't even know what would have happened."

Cedar Point officials said six of the seven boat passengers on the log flume were evaluated and treated at the park and then were released and the other was taken to a hospital for further evaluation before being released.

The accident was being investigated by Cedar Point officials, who said they had reported it to state officials. They said the ride, which opened in 2010, will stay closed until park and state inspectors complete their review.

Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1961 and was the first amusement park in the Six Flags system. It is 27km west of downtown Dallas. The park's first fatality happened in 1999. A 28-year-old Arkansas woman drowned and 10 other passengers were injured when a raft-like boat on the Roaring Rapids ride overturned in 60 to 90cm of water.

  • Josie de Villiers - 2013-07-21 10:01

    What sad news. A terrible tragedy and horrible way to die. Condolences to the family.

  • Marco Van Der Merwe - 2013-07-21 11:13

    Another prime example of the disregard for another's life, the selfish nature of presumption and false security we convince ourselves of

  • SydneyG - 2013-07-21 17:45

    Sad story indeed, even sadder that the victim expressed her safety concerns but her fears were ignored by the very people paid to reinforce her safety. How ironic! In my life, I have decided that I will never ever gamble with my life through bungee jumping or via roller coaster. I get enough adrenalin when I'm driving my cause I'm the one in control, not some strangers paid to thrill me. Flying is the only exception to the rule, I've got to reach my destination and here the pilots play God, and I ask the Good Lord for my soul to keep when the plane takes off to the skies and duly thank Him for bringing me back down to earth where I belong!

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