Woman dies riding Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas

Posted Friday, July 19, 2013 9:27 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington has confirmed an adult woman died while riding the Texas Giant Friday night. While news of the death quickly spread across Twitter, few details were confirmed as of 8 p.m.

Read more from The Dallas Morning News and WFAA/Dallas.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:44 AM

If memory serves, NTG and OR have the exact same restraint. There's a pad on your lap, two outside support bars, and a shin bar. Lights near the seat backs tell the platform op if the bar is closed fully enough to dispatch. I think the control op sees something too. On OR I noticed the bars movement was very stiff- it comes down easy enough, but you REALLY have to push up hard to open it at exit time. I can't remember if NTG is the same.

I'm someone who gets nervous about lap bars, particularly the silent, non-ratcheting type, and particularly on airtime machines like Rocky Mountain and B&M are building these days. When there's no car front to attach a grab bar to, the rider is left to hold onto the lap bar only, nothing stationary is present to assist. I always think (know) if the thing should pop up, no matter what, I'm going with it. If I hear or feel "clicks" somehow I feel better.

I also get nervous that, no matter who's lap bar it is, and no matter if its mechanical or a rider issue, when there's an incident it will somehow affect restraints of that type around the world. And never for the better in terms of rider comfort and accessibility.

Edit to add: I guess memory doesn't serve! Thanks, Wildfire01 for the clarification.

Last edited by RCMAC, Saturday, July 20, 2013 9:46 AM
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Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:07 AM

First off, this is an awful situation and I could not imagine how her children must have felt watching this happen. At this point I am like the rest of you and only know of the incident through the hear say that was reported in the news articles.

1) All the witnesses who were waiting in the station and are claiming that something did not seem right should have mentioned something to the ride operators, if that many people thought something was wrong, including the rider I don't think they would have sent the train on its way.

2) Seat belt additions have already been ordered by the maintenance department.

3) From the witness reports the victim was unable to properly secure her lap bar. I went skydiving a few weeks back and was about to jump out the door and for some reason I could only get one strap of my chute pack on. The captain told me I will probably be OK, but I decided to sit back down and maybe try again another time. That did not really happen but I think you get my point.

4) If this was an issue of the rider being of larger carriage then I think parks have two options. Blatantly deny access to any rider that they deem to big to ride, or allow those riders on only after signing multiple documents stating that they have been told by park employees that their size may cause the safety restraints (which are designed to restrain an average size person) may not function properly. If they safety system malfunctions as a result of the users size the park cannot be held liable as they are riding at their own risk.

I hate to come across as harsh, but you know that you are all thinking pretty much the same thing. It is tragic anytime there is a death or injury at a theme park or anywhere for that matter, but we all need to start taking some personal responsibility and pay attention to our surroundings a bit better. Maybe if people were more focused on being in the moment and not live tweeting their lives then companies would not have to treat everyone as if they are 5 years old.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:09 AM

Actually we have no idea what failed. If this is a continuously adjustable hydraulic system it is equally possible that the locking system failed, that the linkage to the locking system failed, or that something else bad happened.

I have never ridden that ride, nor have I ever even seen its train in person. But consider that if this was a rider who was having problems getting the lap bar down in the first place, and the ride produces upward forces as strong as reviews have claimed, then this lap bar would be under fairly extreme stress.

Heck, Gerstlauer already has a history of broken lap bars...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:20 PM

DejaVuNitro said:

I've had multiple bars pop one click because of this, though it's never an issue because the next ratchet catches fully.

In all my years of riding I've never experienced a lap bar that has released one click while riding. How would you even know this?

You said it's happened multiple times, so why have I never experienced it?

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:23 PM
DaveStroem's avatar

egieszl, I have never gotten a rollback on Dragster, but I don't doubt those that claim to have.


Before you can be older and wiser you first have to be young and stupid.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 1:42 PM

Neither have I Dave. If he said it happened once or twice I wouldn't even ask, but when you say multiple times then I start to wonder why am I not experiencing the same at least once.

Some restraints on certain trains have some give where they rise up a bit even when locked. PTC trains are the ones that immediately come to mind. I just wonder if that gives the perception that they've skipped a ratchet when in fact they have not.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:08 PM

I was almost denied a ride on a Roller Coaster (Colossusat Six Flags Magic Mountain) because of my size (I am a rather portly dude). I stepped into the train (A Morgan Manufacturing one) and pulled the lap bar back until secure. The Ride Operator noticed my bar only went two "clicks" and their policy was it had to do at least three clicks. I told the Operator to 'Staple" me in and it did the required three clicks.

I have some advice if you are ever denied a ride because you're too big. Get yourself the South Beach Diet Books and BONE UP and START COOKING. You will LOVE the results.


Answer my Prayers, Overbook my next Flight!
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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:19 PM
rollergator's avatar

Condolences to the woman's family and friends - truly a tragic occurrence. Can't even imagine what it would be like to have a friend or relative get seriously injured or killed on an amusement ride...

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:22 PM
DejaVuNitro's avatar

What Dave said. Just because you haven't experienced something does not mean it never happens.

For the record I am not stating that my bar has flown wide open and I was hanging on for dear life I'm saying that on some rides a bar can 'click' feel locked in one position but pop up one position during the ride. Notice I am saying feels locked because its not fully engaged but rather is inbetween but has the feel and sound of being fully engaged. Not all rides do this as Rideman has stated and The Texas Giant is hydraulic so it doesn't apply anyway.

The rides I've experienced this on have been most notably Vekoma SLC's for those wondering.

Last edited by DejaVuNitro, Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:25 PM

I'm sheriff of this here rollercoaster.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:42 PM

I'm not saying it never happens I'm just trying to understand.

That's interesting about the Vekoma SLC. I don't have much experience riding these and thus explains why I haven't experienced what you have. I've ridden 8 different SLCs, but I don't think I've ever ridden any individual one more than twice, so well under 20 rides total.

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:49 PM

Please note: I'm not the one who said the Giant has hydraulic lap bars. I've only seen photos of the train and don't really know much about it. I'm familiar with hydraulic mechanisms used for lap bars, but I do not know any details about the system used on the Giant.

As for lap bars popping open...
I know that there have been cases of ratchet bars partially unlatching mid-ride. I know Thunder Run's original train was known to have that problem, and I have had it happen to me on Gemini. Phantom's Revenge had a habit of popping up a notch as the train left the station for most of its first season, ironically because the switch that was double checking that the lap bars were locked as the train left the station was tripping the release roller. And of course, some of the PTC ratchet bars have a whole lot of slop in them, almost a full notch worth of play. I noticed that on the Legend.

I have heard stories of the old PTC handlebars opening up mid-ride, which can be particularly frightening because those bars will lock into the open position. But I have only experienced an incident like that once, on the Cedar Creek Mine Ride, where the lap bars in our car opened and locked open after the first (4') drop.

Personally, I think there is a bigger story here. If we assume for the moment that something went wrong with the restraint on the Giant, perhaps the more moorland question is one of the wisdom of building a coaster where the rider restraints are nt fault tolerant. We are seeing rides now where an unrestrained rider has basically no chance of making it back to the station alive. This is not traditionally how rides are built, and it suggests to me that if the rider restraints have I feed become this critical, perhaps some of the design considerations ought to be revisited...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:53 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

RideMan said:

We are seeing rides now where an unrestrained rider has basically no chance of making it back to the station alive. This is not traditionally how rides are built, and it suggests to me that if the rider restraints have I feed become this critical, perhaps some of the design considerations ought to be revisited...

This.

No, seriously. This.

This was one of my first thoughts. I just didn't want to be the one to say it. It's a totally valid point.


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Saturday, July 20, 2013 3:41 PM

Trust me, I have been thinking it for a long time. When I got to see Perilous Plunge (which I never rode) and saw that the water couldn't stay in the downchute, it occurred to me that it was an irresponsible design. A slightly larger radius on the rollover, and they could keep the really steep drop and even retain the airtime. But they could also obviate the need for lap bars...

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Saturday, July 20, 2013 5:52 PM

    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
/XXX\ /X\ /X\_ _ /X\__ _ _ _____
/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
_/XXXXXXX\__/XXXXX\/XXXXXXXX\_/XXX\_/XXXXXXX\__/XXX\_/XXX\_/\_/XXXXXX

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 3:46 PM
sirloindude's avatar

To be fair, I think that if you ran with that logic, many of the great lap bar-possessing rides would have to be outfitted with OTSRs to keep their layouts. If I had to say goodbye to the great airtime machines of this world or experience neutered revisions, it would possibly be the death of this hobby for me.

I guess my point is that recent ride ejections tend to generally involve people of physiques that don't tend to lend themselves to the accommodations the restraints provide. To completely alter ride design in general as opposed to modifying restraints slightly or, more desirably, just enforcing size/physique requirements better would be rather silly, in my opinion.

Honestly, it just seems that to eliminate the glorious, hyper-intense airtime of rides like SkyRush, Boulder Dash, El Toro, and others (and honestly, if you eliminate the level of airtime that it would take to eject an un-restrained rider, pretty much any ride with any airtime, period) would be complete and wasteful overkill given how exceptionally rare this situation is (and how it generally isn't a failure of the restraint to stay put but rather a failure of the rider to fit properly under/in it).


13 Boomerang, 9 SLC, and 8 B-TR clones

www.grapeadventuresphotography.com

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 3:58 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I may be wrong about this, but I am wondering if these different types of restraints from different coaster manufacturers might be due to patent laws? As in, when a company designs a new coaster, they have to deviate from a safety design, so that they do not infringe on another companies design? It would certainly explain all the god awful restraints out there. But, I would hope that this is not the case, because a persons safety should be more important than getting sued for using another companies patent design.

I know I would never want to see anyone get thrown off from a rollercoaster, and, as far as I am concerned it should never happen. I feel so sad for this lady, her family, and the park. I am beginning to agree with some of the ride skeptics, in them saying that the more the parks try to push the envelope on these intense rides, the more dangerous they become. Hopefully, they will find out what caused this accident quickly, and fix whatever needs to be fixed, so it doesn't happen again.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:11 PM

Thoughts and prayers to the victim family and witnesses.

I have personally witnessed a ratchet lap bar failing before. Last summer on the Cyclone at SFNE my friend sitting right next to me had is lap bar open up almost immediately. He is a rather large/muscular person and only had it click once. Only the seat belt was holding him in. This same friend of mine was sitting next to me a few years earlier when his seat belt connecting to his harness on the Bizarro at SFGADV came off while climbing the chain lift. I told him to just put it back on and it clicked back into place before the ride started its action.

I'm also good friends with another person who had two harness failures. I was not wtih him either time in fact i didn't even get to know him until afterwards. To me he seems like an extremely honest individual. He is a pastor. Anyways he and his wife witnessed both his harness failures and say it completely opened up on the S@S tower at Knotts(I forget the name) and the Mind Eraser at SFNE both mid ride. The harness on the mind eraser actually flew open and then locked back into place. I asked him how many times it clicked and he doesn't know. He said he was about 6'3'' and 185lbs at the time. Try telling him those seatbelts that connect to the harness are not for redundency!


1.SV 2.El Toro 3.MF 4.I-305 5.Kumba
6.STR@SFNE 7.Voyage 8.X2 9.Storm Chaser 10. Wicked Cyclone

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:12 PM
kpjb's avatar

sirloindude said:

To be fair, I think that if you ran with that logic, many of the great lap bar-possessing rides would have to be outfitted with OTSRs to keep their layouts. If I had to say goodbye to the great airtime machines of this world or experience neutered revisions, it would possibly be the death of this hobby for me.

I don't think so... the first thing I thought of when I heard this was that if the lap bar is the primary restraint, what do you have as a secondary restraint?

On many coasters, the lap bar IS the secondary restraint. The primary restraint is gravity. Riding without the bar causes no issues, as long as the rider doesn't attempt to stand or get out mid-cycle.

This is obviously not the case here, and something as simple as a seat belt to hold the bars in case of a failure would have saved this woman's life. An OTSR would have made no difference in this case. If it fails, she still dies.


Hi

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Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:13 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

sirloindude said:

To be fair, I think that if you ran with that logic, many of the great lap bar-possessing rides would have to be outfitted with OTSRs to keep their layouts. If I had to say goodbye to the great airtime machines of this world or experience neutered revisions, it would possibly be the death of this hobby for me.

I guess my point is ...

I think you're going a different direction.

To me, the point is that the lapbar was traditionally almost a secondary safety device in a sense in that it often wasn't necessary. (think old-school buzzbar design) There was no real failure that could occur.

Modern design has changed that. The restraint is a necessary safety component. The ride will literally kill you without it. That wasn't always the case. Safety device failure is almost certainly catastrophic on more than a few of these rides.

How you handle this fact is a different argument (and the one you seem to be going into). I'm not even that far. I'm just saying, I don't people really think of it that way. The game has certainly changed.


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Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:14 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Wow, same idea posted at the same time.

Great minds...


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Saturday, July 20, 2013 4:15 PM
kpjb's avatar

In before Gonch!


Hi

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