Safety expert weighs in on what may have caused 'Texas Giant' de - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Safety expert weighs in on what may have caused 'Texas Giant' death

ARLINGTON, TX (KLTV) -

The Texas Giant roller coaster remained closed Sunday, as investigators continue to look into what may have caused the death of a Dallas woman on Friday.

Witnesses said 52-year-old Rosy Esparza had expressed concern to ride operators about the security of her lap bar, but was still allowed to ride.

It was Esparza's first time at Six Flags, riding the roller coaster with her son, when she suddenly fell to her death from the ride.

"When it dropped to come down, that's when it released," said Carmen Brown, who witnessed Esparza's fall. "She just tumbled."

The ride was redesigned just two years ago, and according to Six Flags' website, it has two wooden roller coaster records: the steepest drop, and a bank that turns riders at a 95 degree angle.

Walter Reiss has more than 25 years of experience in inspecting amusement park rides and said that the intensity of the rise raises questions for him about the types of restraints used.

"Normally when you start getting to these speeds and angles, you go to a shoulder restraint," Reiss said. "That kind of throws me a little bit."

Witnesses said Esparza expressed concern to operators about her lap bar only  making one click. If true, that is a red flag for Reiss.

"If it only made one click, that tells me, as an inspector, that you're at the threshold and that this lap bar is not even engaging at all," he said. "If a person cannot fit properly, they need to be told as diplomatically as possible that it would be safer if they don't ride."

That rule of thumb applies to riders who are both too large and too small for the ride.

"They have got height restrictions to prevent smaller children and that's because the harness is not designed for riders under X height, whatever that height is, based on the dynamics of the ride and what the manufactures recommend," Reiss said.

But Reiss added that the threshold is ultimately enforced by ride operators.

"Every patron depends on the park and their representatives to tell them, ‘look you cannot do this,'" he said. "If in fact she was too large for this particular seat--and it's kind of a tight seat--than in my opinion, I don't think she should have been allowed to ride for safety reasons."

Whether or not those restraints in fact played a role is still under investigation.

In a statement, Six Flags said, "We are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident…It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired."

A team of roller coaster engineers from Germany are also being sent to Arlington to inspect the ride.

Copyright 2013 KLTV. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • NFL to require all on-field players to stand for national anthem

    NFL to require all on-field players to stand for national anthem

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:33 PM EDT2018-05-23 16:33:08 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:59 PM EDT2018-05-23 16:59:01 GMT

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that players on the field who do not stand and "show respect" during the national anthem will be subject to discipline. 

    More >>

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that players on the field who do not stand and "show respect" during the national anthem will be subject to discipline. 

    More >>
  • FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

    FDA warns teething medicines unsafe, wants them off shelves

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 9:43 AM EDT2018-05-23 13:43:09 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:57 PM EDT2018-05-23 16:57:25 GMT
    The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger. (Source: FDA)The Food and Drug Administration said that various gels and creams containing the drug benzocaine can cause rare but deadly side effects in children, especially those 2 years and younger. (Source: FDA)

    The US Food and Drug Administration health is warning parents about the risks of teething remedies.

    More >>

    The US Food and Drug Administration health is warning parents about the risks of teething remedies.

    More >>
  • Pompeo 'very hopeful' N. Korea talks will still take place

    Pompeo 'very hopeful' N. Korea talks will still take place

    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:44 AM EDT2018-05-23 04:44:27 GMT
    Wednesday, May 23 2018 12:54 PM EDT2018-05-23 16:54:10 GMT
    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-In in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Washington.(AP Photo/Evan Vucci). President Donald Trump meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-In in the Oval Office of the White House, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, in Washington.

    The June 12 summit, planned for Singapore, offers a historic chance for peace on the peninsula - but also the risk of an epic diplomatic failure that would allow the North to revive and advance its nuclear weapons program.

    More >>

    The June 12 summit, planned for Singapore, offers a historic chance for peace on the peninsula - but also the risk of an epic diplomatic failure that would allow the North to revive and advance its nuclear weapons program.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly