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Family Sues Six Flags After Woman's Fall From 14-Story High Roller Coaster

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The family of a 52-year-old Dallas woman has filed a lawsuit against Six Flags Over Texas two months after the woman was thrown from the seat of her roller coaster and fell 75 feet to her death.

Rosa Esparza was killed July 19 when she fell off the Texas Giant, a 14-story roller coaster that twists and turns at more than 60 miles per hour at the amusement park in Arlington.

The lawsuit, which accuses Six Flags of negligence, was filed on Tuesday, the same day Six Flags announced the roller coaster will reopen this weekend.

Esparza, according to the suit, was in the front, left seat of the second car in the roller coaster chain when the ride began. Her son-in-law and daughter were in the front seat, and according to the lawsuit, they saw Esparza "attempting to hold on for dear life."
Frank Branson, the family's attorney, told ABC News Esparza's daughter heard her mother's screams for help.

"She heard screams behind her. She turned, as I understand it, to see her mother's feet in the air. She turns back to tell her husband and turns around again and her mother was gone," Branson said.
The T-shaped lap bar that was supposed to restrain riders didn't work properly, according to the suit. The lawsuit states that inspections done on the roller coasters after Esparza's death "showed that various parts of the security systems on the ride were experiencing inconsistencies and intermittent failures."
After the incident, Six Flags replaced a "limit switch," an indicator that shows the safety bar is in place, in the car Esparza was riding in because amusement park staff "found the switch to be defective," according to the lawsuit.

Esparza's family has requested a trial by jury and is seeking compensation of at least $1 million.

Six Flags declined to comment on the lawsuit and has never said what exactly happened the day Esparza plunged to her death, but insisted there was "no mechanical failures."

Esparza was 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighed more than 200 pounds, but the family's attorney says it's still not clear whether the safety bar locked or if the bar wasn't properly designed to "hold in" someone her size.

Six Flags has announced that when the Texas Giant reopens, the ride will be equipped with new seat belts and redesigned restraint bar pads. The amusement park will also offer a sample roller coaster seat at the ride's entrance for people to judge for themselves in advance whether they fit safely.

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Last edited by TheArchitect on September 12th, 2013, 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post September 12th, 2013, 2:17 pm

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If only Six Flags could say "her waist was f*cking gigantic so she couldn't stay in the train properly" and not offend anyone...

Post September 12th, 2013, 3:12 pm

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Originally posted by AJClarke0912

If only Six Flags could say "her waist was f*cking gigantic so she couldn't stay in the train properly" and not offend anyone...


They don't call it MORBIDLY obese for nothing.
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Post September 12th, 2013, 4:23 pm

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Appearntly the USA isn't one nation under god, but one nation under the belief that you can sue everybody and everything.

Post September 12th, 2013, 4:59 pm
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Post September 12th, 2013, 6:57 pm
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I have a hard time believing that if this were a member of your guys' family, you would just sit there and say "Welp, that family member was fat, so whatever. Just finna move on wit mah lyfe." They shouldn't sue because of mechanical failures and whatnot, but rather emotional distress. Maybe because we understand coaster's and their mechanics we see this as silly, but how is her family supposed to understand that she flew out because of her size? A non-enthusiast would sit there and say it broke, and that's why she fell.

I honestly don't blame the family for suing, but if they push on mechanical failures, I think Six Flags can prove that there were none whatsoever. Push the emotional distress thing, and I guarantee they will be compensated somehow. This is very sad nonetheless :(

Post September 12th, 2013, 7:19 pm
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Originally posted by blackhand1001
They don't call it MORBIDLY obese for nothing.


BUT MUH CUUUUUURVES ARE SO ***Y
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Post September 12th, 2013, 8:03 pm

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BUT MUH CUUUUUURVES ARE SO ***Y


Hahaha, awesome!

It is sad that the situation resulted in a death, but in other circumstances I have no sympathy for big people at parks. I understand that obese people that don't visit parks regularly might not know to the best of their knowledge that they can't fit on rides, but when I see someone wait in line only to get up to the train, try to get in only to have a ride host ask them to step off because of how big they are, I don't really feel bad. I think it'd be a bit of a wake-up call if it were me.

Now I know the article says that the ride NOW has a test seat at the front of the ride entrance, so I guess what I was saying applies to the biggins' that ignore that test seat on rides that have them(I know plenty at CP have them) thinking that no one will notice and they'll just magically be allowed to ride. I've seen it at CP quite often. Then the comments, "awww, I feel so bad for them..." start to fly around. That's when I make the point about the test seat up front. They're there for a reason... Not to embarrass people, but to inform people about the rides seating limits.

Again, I do feel terribly sorry for the family and like said by other, I can understand suing for emotional distress, but not for mechanical error. This country is too "sue" happy though...

Post September 12th, 2013, 10:38 pm

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TV said light ion control panel that confirms seat was locked in wasn't working. so op didn't know if indeed allow ere locked in or not. Since the TV said that, lets ask Mikey, he worked the ride for years so he should know if the ride would be operated under this condition and if it would dispatch if said light didn't work.

Post September 12th, 2013, 11:20 pm

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Originally posted by Staff

TV said light ion control panel that confirms seat was locked in wasn't working. so op didn't know if indeed allow ere locked in or not. Since the TV said that, lets ask Mikey, he worked the ride for years so he should know if the ride would be operated under this condition and if it would dispatch if said light didn't work.


The restraint was locked. That wasn't the issue. The issue was that it was against her gut rather than her thighs. Therefore it didn't properly restrain her.

The good thing is that six flags has installed measurement belts like El Toro and most of the other intamin coasters have now on Texas Giant so the ride operators don't have to make a judgement call themselves.
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Post September 15th, 2013, 8:37 pm
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At regular intervals as part of the safety check a Lamp Test must performed. This is generally done every morning to make sure that all of the indicators work. There is no lamp fault detection systems on most rides. I should point out that all of the push buttons were replaced when the ride was rebuilt, and there is no way in hell they would be out after just a few seasons. Especially the LED bulbs that have multi-path circuitry.

The restraint monitoring system itself I believe does not have a lamp, I think it's an an Allen Bradley HMI that has a visual representation of the train and each seat. If this system was not working correctly this will be split liability between the process control contractor, ride manufacturer, and Six Flags.

As part of the operations and maintenance safety checks it is required to attempt to dispatch a train with all sorts of unsafe conditions.

Gates open, restraints unlocked, restraints open, etc..

This has to be completed twice per day by operations, and once per day by maintenance.

It is generally against most company polices to operate a ride outside of automatic and/or with any safety process bypassed or disabled except during emergency conditions such as during an evac. EG, no using maintenance over ride for normal operating since you can very easily get two trains in one block. It is also against the terms of most general liability policies.

The insurance company would have tested this system as part of it's inspection process. It should have also been inspected as part of the acceptance process for new rides.

Modern control systems typically log 24-48 hours worth of events with time stamps, with faults and other diagnostic information stored indefinitely.

The restraint debate is likely moot since the train left the station in an unsafe condition. No matter how you slice it, this is likely a very good case for the family. Six Flags will likely settle instead of having the details of their operators spread out in a lawsuit for all the world to see. They would be dumb to let this go infront of a jury because at that point punitive damages would come into play.



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Post September 15th, 2013, 9:15 pm

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Bummer, there goes another price increase to the season pass and tickets!

Post September 16th, 2013, 7:07 pm

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Originally posted by Staff

Bummer, there goes another price increase to the season pass and tickets!


Due to fat people.


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