Woman Dies after Falling from Texas Roller Coaster

A woman was killed on July 19 at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington after she fell off a ride. According to the park spokesman, Sharon Parker, the woman died while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster, which is called the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world.

Sgt. Christopher Cook, spokesman for the Arlington Police Department, said police, fire and emergency medical services responded to the park around 6:45 p.m. after a woman fell from a train car while riding a roller coaster. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Cook said the park and the Texas Department of Insurance, the agency which approves amusement rides and makes sure they are properly inspected for safety, will be investigating the accident.

According to published witness reports, other riders heard their restraints click three times; the victim only heard hers click once and expressed concern, but was still allowed to ride. Then, when the coaster reached a peak and started coming down, the woman reportedly fell out of the cart and plummeted down. The woman had come to the park with children.

After the tragic accident, the ride was immediately shut down and park guests were moved away from the area. Emergency responders took some time before they were actually able to locate the body.

The Texas Giant coaster is 14 stories high at its peak and has a drop of 79 degrees and a bank of 95 degrees. It can carry up to 24 riders. The ride first opened in 1990 as an all-wooden coaster but in 2012 a $10 million renovation upgraded it with steel-hybrid rails. It reopened in 2011.

Also on July 19, Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, OH had a thrill ride malfunction. In that park, the boat in a water ride accidentally rolled backward down a hill and flipped over, injuring all seven people on board. Operators stopped the Shoot the Rapids water ride after the accident.

Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1961; it is the first of the Six Flags parks. The first fatality at the park happened in 1999. In that incident, a 28-year-old woman drowned and 10 other passengers were injured when a raft-like boat on the Roaring Rapids ride overturned.

Amusement park injuries and fatalities are more common than you might imagine. There were 1,204 ride-related injuries in the United States in 2011 according to the National Safety Council's most recent data.

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