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Coaster fall, death at Six Flags near Dallas ruled accidental

A recent fatal accident at Six Flags Over Texas has prompted a nationwide discussion about the safety of amusement park rides. A Dallas woman fell to her death from a moving roller coaster known as the Texas Giant. A report from the Tarrant County medical examiner stated the victim died from several traumatic injuries.

Arlington police determined the death was accidental. Local law enforcers apparently aren’t pursuing an investigation of the roller coaster. Officials at Six Flags promised to conduct a thorough internal investigation.

The roller coaster premiered at the amusement park in 1990, billed as the world’s tallest wooden coaster. The ride is no longer entirely made of wood. Three years ago, steel tracks replaced the wooden ones.

The Dallas Morning News and other media outlets reported the victim was overheard talking with a ride attendant just before the coaster car accident. The woman allegedly was worried that she was not restrained properly. One visitor told a newspaper that the park did nothing after she complained her daughter’s restraint came loose during a ride. The girl completed the Runaway Mine Train ride wrapped tightly in her father’s arms.

Amusement park safety rules are created at state levels. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, park operators must conduct annual inspections and carry adequate liability insurance. After any injury requiring treatment, a ride must be closed until a safety inspection is conducted and state approved.

Although no criminal charges have been filed, Six Flags could be named as a defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit. The victim’s family members have a right to pursue legal action in civil court if evidence of negligence is uncovered.

The ride operator and maintenance workers are potential defendants. The roller coaster’s designer or manufacturer could also be held accountable for faulty vehicle design, depending on the outcome of internal and independent investigations.

Source: news.yahoo.com, "Texas police confirm woman fell to death from roller coaster" Lisa Maria Garza, Jul. 21, 2013

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