Six Flags coaster to reopen after death, family of victim files wrongful death suit

Six Flags coaster to reopen after deathThe Texas Giant Roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas will be reopening this weekend, the park has announced. The ride has been closed since July, when a woman fell to her death. According to reports, Rosy Esparza, 52, was killed when she fell 75 feet from the roller coaster during a ride.

The Texas Giant was originally introduced to the park in the 1990 as an all wooden roller coaster. It was redesigned to have a steel track and reopened in April 2011 as part of the park’s 50th anniversary celebration. The ride reaches up to 153 feet and then has a drop of 147 feet. It has a bank of 95 degrees, which Six Flags says is “steeper than any wooden coaster on the planet.”

The ride has had new seat belts and redesigned restraint bar pads installed since the July incident. Six Flags has said that its investigation into the death found no signs of mechanical failure on the ride. In a statement, the company said that people with “unique body shapes or sizes” may not properly fit into the seat for the ride. The park will now offer a roller coaster seat on the ride line so riders can decide for themselves if they fit in the seat before they actually reach the ride.

Esparza’s family filed a wrongful death suit against the theme park on Tuesday. The suit, filed in Tarrant County, claims that the park should have known the dangers of putting patrons on roller coasters using only lap bars and no seat belts or harnesses. It also claims that inspections performed after Esparza’s fall revealed that “various parts of the security systems on the ride were experiencing inconsistencies and intermittent failures.”

Reports indicate that the safety bars did not have uniform locking and the signal that alerts the ride operator when the safety bars are properly place malfunctioned. The complaint alleges that as a result of the accident, the park replaced the “limit switch” in the car in which Esparza rode, which triggers the green light to tell the operators that the ride is safe to begin operation.

The Esparza family is asking for damages of more than $1 million.

“We are heartbroken and will forever feel the pain and sadness of this tragic accident. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Esparza,” Steve Martindale, president of Six Flags Over Texas, said in a statement. “The safety of our guests and employees is our company’s absolute highest priority and we try to take every reasonable precaution to eliminate the risk of accidents.”

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Rob is a analyst and reporter covering stocks and business news.