Six Flags Death Report: Ride Had Previous Problems
ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) – Shocking new witness accounts reveal what people saw moments before Rosy Esparza fell to her death from the Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.
Esparza was killed after she was thrown from the roller coaster in July. A newly released 92 page report by the Arlington Police Department revealed employees had concerns about Esparza’s restraint before the train took off.
The employee told police Esparza’s restraint “was a little high, not as tight as it should be,” the report said. The employee went to check the control panel, which has an indicator light that lights up if a restraint is not properly secured.
The panel indicated the restraint was secure.
If there is a problem with the indicator, the system does not allow the train to leave the station.
The employee indicated they had experienced similar problems on the same train earlier in the week. The indicator light that alerts if a restraint is secure had been malfunctioning and was fixed by maintenance crews just days before Esparza was killed.
The Esparza’s family attorney, Frank Branson, said that indicated a pattern of negligence.
”It confirmed they had been having difficulties with the restraint system on this particular car for at least a week before this and had had at least 3 reports of the sensors not working,” Branson said.
Witnesses then told police they observed Esparza coming loose from her restraint during the first drop of the ride.
”We went down the first turn, I saw her fly out of her seat and came back down. By the second turn- I don’t know if she hit her head or not but the second turn I saw that she fell out,” Justice Serrano told police in the report.
”Two seats in front of me, the woman’s legs were pointing straight in the air we took a left turn and I saw her fly off to the right,” said Josh Fleak in the report.
Pictures released in the report show the empty row where Esparza once sat while horrified witnesses looked on.
Esparza’s daugter and son-in-law made phone calls to 911 and a frantic search for Esparza began.
Arlington police officer J. Alvarez was one of the first to respond. He stepped onto an observation deck and spotted Esparza’s body near the ride “nearly severed in half.”
It took firefighters hours to remove her body.
The Texas Giant was closed immediately after her death but re-opened later with redesigned lap bars and safety restraints and a test seat so riders can see if they fit properly before getting on the ride.
Arlington police ruled Esparza’s death an accident.
Her family is suing Six Flags and the roller coaster manufacturer.
(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
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