If there is any question as to whether you’re secure in your seat, perhaps the best idea when being strapped into an amusement park ride is to scream BEFORE the ride starts, Although investigators are not sure exactly what happened on the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags last Friday, Rosy Esparza fell out of her seat and to her death right before her son’s eyes, who sat beside her.
A woman named Carmen Brown witnessed the fall and said she overheard Esparaza’s concern that she wasn’t secured in her T-shaped lap bar, which is designed to be fool-proof. The Texas Giant is a whopping fourteen stories high so there is no way that Esparza could have survived the ordeal as she raised her arms at the top of the ride and was flung out of the seat to her death.
The German company that built the cars for the Texas Giant, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, is sending out experts today to figure out how this horrific incident occurred. However, ultimately Six Flags must decide what happened to Esparza. The Arlington Police Department has determined that there was no sign of foul play or criminality involved. It is speculated that Esparza’s size may be the reason she was not secure in her seat. Safety experts say seats are built for adults who weigh 180 pounds. So why does the Texas Giant not have a weight restriction? Many people, both men and women, weigh well over 180 pounds. According to Bill Avery of Avery Safety Consulting Park Employees, “The operators should absolutely be able to determine if a person’s body mass can fit inside of the riding compartment the restraint mechanism correctly fits their body and will retain them within the unit.”
Brown said the attendant who secured Esparza’s seat was “basically nonchalant” and told Esparza, “As long as you heard it click, you’re fine.” However, her seat was the only one that only clicked once and although she didn’t push the issue, she didn’t feel safe.
The amusement park industry estimates that the chances of being injured on any ride are only one in 24 million but that estimate will bring no comfort the family of Rosy Esparza. To date, the family has declined any interviews.
Esparza’s son said in a Facebook post, “It is sad to lose my mom,” he wrote, “but I am happy that when she was alive she enjoyed it to the fullest. I always took her to explore new places.” Reyes Browne Reilley is a personal injury law firm in Dallas, so it may seem a little self-serving to add anything to this terrible story, except to say our wishes are with the Esparza family.
None of us will ever be in the exact same situation as Rosy, but if you feel uncomfortable with level of safety in a given situation (like how you’re seated and secured in an amusement ride), you need to make a fuss – a very loud fuss, and change the situation to your advantage. Just remember that the potential embarrassment of raising your hand, shouting, and making a scene are insignificant when compared to being severely injured or killed.
Photo Credit: CBS News [link]