Back in July, a Texas woman died after being thrown from the 14-story tall “Texas Giant” roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas. Initial statements did not specify the cause of the woman’s death; however, others on the ride speculated her death was attributed to a safety bar:
[The woman] goes up like this. Then when it drops to come down, that’s when it (the safety bar) released and she just tumbled. . . . 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.’ 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.
Regardless of the cause, Six Flags closed down the coaster until last weekend while it investigated.
Since the re-opening, the woman’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the amusement park in Texas state court. In the suit papers, the estate alleges that post-accident inspections revealed that various parts of the ride’s security systems were experiencing “inconsistencies and intermittent failures.” After the woman’s death, Six Flags allegedly had to replace a defective “limit switch” which shows the lap bar is in place. The estate seeks at least $1 million in damages.
Six Flags has apparently never revealed the findings of any internal investigation. The ride is now equipped with new seat belts and redesigned restraint bar pads (implicating subsequent remedial measures concerns, naturally).
Oddly, Six Flags is now also providing a sample seat at the entrance of the ride for people to judge for themselves whether they fit safely. We here at Abnormal Use will withhold any opinions on whether Six Flags should bear any responsibility for the woman’s death. We will say for any future accidents, however, that we would hate to resort to the “plaintiff had the opportunity to try the seat out ahead of time” defense. Hopefully, Six Flags is making this move to ease the fear of future riders. We can only hope.