Six Flags Over Texas was the site of a tragedy today when a woman died while riding the New Texas Giant. The park hasn’t released details about the accident or how the woman died, but they did release a statement: “We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant,” wrote Sharon Parker, communications manager for Six Flags Over Texas. “Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time.” My prayers and condolences go out to the family. No matter the details, this a tragedy and I can’t imagine what they must be going through. Eyewitness Accounts of the New Texas Giant Accident It’s only natural to wonder how this happened. At this point, all we have are the eyewitness accounts that are surfacing on the web. The WFAA news video below includes the account of a woman that claims she saw the accident. There were also a few tweets by riders who saw the accident happen. They were highlighted on the local ABC affiliate WFAA. Literally just witnessed someone fly off of the Texas Giant two seats in front of me. – @joshfleak …restraint came undone, coaster turned and she was gone – @joshfleak Statement About Clicking Restraints Doesn’t Make Sense The eyewitness from the video above shared an exchange that she overheard between the woman who fell from Texas Giant and a ride op. She claims that the woman “didn’t feel secure because she only heard one click when pulling down her restraint while others heard more clicks”. She went on to say that the ride op assured her that she was fine as long as she heard the one click and did not help her tighten her restraint. New Texas Giant uses Gerstlauer trains with hydraulic restraints. They move in a smooth motion with no clicking noises. Gerstlauer’s press material for their hybrid coaster train describes the restraints: The cars feature four self-supporting seats with T-shaped lapbars. The use of redundant hydraulic cylinders ensures that each lap-bar can be infinitely adjusted and offers maximum security. – Gerstlauer’s Hybrid Coaster Train Brochure (PDF) So, this account doesn’t add up. I only highlight it here so that people will pause before taking this account to heart; which unfortunately has already began. Fingers are being pointed every which way before the hard facts have been presented. We should all wait before making any judgments about what caused this horrific accident. Again, my prayers and condolences go out to the woman’s family and friends. I hope that the investigation into the accident reveals the cause and Six Flags works to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. About New Texas Giant I traveled out to Six Flags Over Texas to ride the New Texas Giant on the first day it was reopened to the public back in 2011. It’s easily among the best roller coasters I’ve ridden and highly regarded in the industry. It was originally built in 1990 as a wooden roller coaster, but received a massive make-over which entailed adding steel track that allowed for more thrilling elements. It does not have any loops, but it does have areas with extreme banking including a 95-degree banked overturn, a steep 79-degree first drops, and a height of 153-feet. One Possible Cause of the Texas Giant Accident With regards to the terrible accident that happened on Texas Giant on Friday, there’s been a lot of speculation. While we still don’t have details, speculation by those in the coaster enthusiast community point to the woman’s body shape and this video reconstructing an older accident. This COULD show what might have happened: If, and again I do mean IF, this video depicts what might have happened then the angle at which the restraints need to come down needs to be increased. Also, a seat belt (as a measuring device) could be added. If a ride operator couldn’t get the belt to fasten into the lap bar, then the rider wouldn’t be allowed to ride. Also, from what I’m finding it is highly unlikely that the restraint actually came open. Eyewitnesses even stated that when the train returned the restraint was in the down position. REMINDER: This is all still complete speculation and we’ll have to wait for the details of the investigation to be sure. 11 Responses DRU July 22, 2013 This is very sad news. I hope they can figure out exactly why the restraint failed. I was thinking that all coasters with strong negatives G forces or inverting coasters without over the shoulder restraints should have a backup full seatbelt not just those sizing belts. I heard on the news that there is no government oversight in the investigations of coaster accidents. Let’s try to change that! I think it is very wrong that the company responsible for the ride is the same company in charge of the investigation. What can we do to help change this? Thanks very much, DRU Reply Zach July 22, 2013 I agree with you on the seatbelt part but I don’t think the government needs to be involved the company i’m sure is worried enough about the situation and getting sued and losing business. The government is involved in to much as it is Reply DRU July 22, 2013 If not the government than at least some sort of an independent organization that does not have any self interest to protect. I don’t know how accurate this is but the news piece I saw claimed that six flags will do an internal investigation and they do not have to release all of the info. I find that very disturbing! Reply Zach July 23, 2013 ok yes a small group does need to get involved but i thought iaapa was getting involved with it Garrett July 22, 2013 Such a terrible tragedy, especially on a coaster as great as New Texas Giant. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and people who witnessed the accident at this difficult time. Reply christopher July 24, 2013 All corporations have inspectors, but it should not end there. It’s called a conflict of interest, and businesses stand to make money and have a long, terrible history when it comes to the subject of self-policing. If Great Adventure is somehow found responsible of wrongdoing, most likely it will be settled out of court, no one will be punished and the victim’s family will probably have to sign a gag order. I wouldn’t call that justice. Reply troy August 3, 2013 Seems maybe the restraint didnt fail! I was thinking how this accident mjght of happened the night it happened and I think im right. The woman was to big for the ride with just the lapbar. No matter how big she was though the design seems to be flawed in this very fun ride when it comes to safely securing thick people in their seats Reply Alex F August 5, 2013 I’m hearing that all Rocky Mounatin coasters across the country are closed because of this incident but I don’t get why. When you look at the evidence of the incident it’s quite obvious that the reason the woman fell out was because she was… Well… Fat. They have height limits on roller coasters and now I think they are going to need to have weight limits. An overweight person is more likely to fall out of a roller coaster than a midget so they need to focus more on weight limit now rather than height limit. Reply Zach August 6, 2013 I don’t know where you got your info but I heard that Iron Rattler was shut down but Outlaw Run just tightened the restraints Reply Aaron Butler August 15, 2013 I love the New Texas Giant but it is very sad to know that a woman died on the ride. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. What i think should be done is that the New Texas Giant should have seatbelts, so the builders need to put seat belts on the trains of the ride. Reply Eric September 11, 2013 It looks like SFOT will be reopening Texas Giant this weekend (September 14-15), less than 2 months following the accident that claimed the life of 52-year-old park guest Rosey Esparza. SFFT’s Iron Rattler was briefly shut down following the Texas Giant incident, but has since reopened. Gerstlauer, the company that manufactured the trains for the RMC iron horse hybrid coaster is overhauling the lap-bar restraints and adding safety belt restraints. Story from SFOT web-site: http://www.sixflags.com/overtexas/info/texasupdate.aspx Reply Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYour email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.