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Six Flags Over Texas (SFOT) Discussion Thread

p. 416 - Fire and Ice Festival announced!

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There should be no judgement call to make on the part of the operator. Either it's locked in a safe position or it isn't. I don't understand why this was possible. If the ride needed seat belts, it should have freaking had seat belts.

 

^I wish people would stop saying things that don't make any sense. Even if she did for some bizarre reason try to free herself, if she was safely restrained then that wouldn't have been possible.

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Nitro’s description says that too. Six Flags is just dumb.

Wow, Six Flags. All of those things are really great.   We really are living in a fantasy world...

Looks like Aquaman has been delayed until 2022...... 

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^I wish people would stop saying things that don't make any sense. Even if she did for some bizarre reason try to free herself, if she was safely restrained then that wouldn't have been possible.

 

Unless her body shape is that of which the trains and restraints aren't designed for. I have a feeling this wouldn't happen to "anybody's mom," unless you're mom was too large to ride. I believe this will turn out to be operator error for letting her ride in the first place. (Similar to the ride of steel accident in 2011)

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I believe this will turn out to be operator error for letting her ride in the first place. (Similar to the ride of steel accident in 2011)

 

How is it operator error if there are no rules stating that she is too large too ride? I have not heard of there being a sign of this nature for NTG. It's only operator error if the operator did not follow established protocol.

 

The Ride of Steel accident is a completely different scenario since Darien Lake had signs posted that you need to have a certain number of limbs to ride.

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Ah, so that was it - I remembered that earlier accident, but not where it happened. I do recall that there were supposedly signs up, but I checked the park web site after the accident and there were no such requirements listed for that ride.

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I believe this will turn out to be operator error for letting her ride in the first place. (Similar to the ride of steel accident in 2011)

 

How is it operator error if there are no rules stating that she is too large too ride? I have not heard of there being a sign of this nature for NTAG. It's only operator error if the operator did not follow established protocol.

 

The Ride of Steel accident is a completely different scenario since Darien Lake had signs posted that you need to have a certain number of limbs to ride.

 

You're right! And that's why this is a sticky situation. It's hard to point blame when the rider was not in design specifications, but there's no way to check to see if she is.

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Let's also remember that last year a man with no hands sued this same park because they wouldn't let him New Texas Giant (and other rides) because he had no hands.

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It was stated that the woman panicked. I wonder if, in her panic, she actually tried to free herself from the restraints.

 

That actually makes a good point. If she actually panicked, she may have tried to get out and slipped through the bars.

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I don't see why it's that complicated. If the ride system indicated she was safely restrained, and she wasn't, then the blame lies squarely on the company that designed the trains. And that seems to be the only logical explanation. When I say this could have been anyone's mom, obviously I mean if your mom was of that magical shape and size that Gerstlauer apparently didn't know people came in. But what about her proportions were so unusual? Sure the picture only shows her about from her shoulders up, but she looked like an ordinary person on the very large side. I'm gonna keep saying this, how could this have happened?

 

It was stated that the woman panicked. I wonder if, in her panic, she actually tried to free herself from the restraints.

 

That actually makes a good point. If she actually panicked, she may have tried to get out and slipped through the bars.

 

I would like somebody to explain to me why this in any way makes sense. If she was scared, why would she try to get OUT of her restraints? And how could she possibly succeed? Wouldn't it make more sense that she fell out either due to negative g-forces or the car turning 90 degrees sideways? Because she wasn't secured properly? I think people just want to blame the victim, but it's not happening, it wasn't anything she did wrong.

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Signs around the ride state that a rider must have two real and non prosthetic legs in order to ride. Now, it would make sense that this policy is in place to make sure that the rider is secure in their seat. This is purely speculation, I have no way of knowing what actually occurred, but if I had to render a guess, I would think that the lap bar was only touching the rider's stomach and not her thighs. I can see the riding policy being appended to include the requirement that the lap bar be touching the thighs of the rider. If this is a case, this whole incident is a matter of park riding policy and not error on the ride attendant's part.

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Facts:

 

1) The Gerstlauer trains running on NTAG use hydraulic restraints. Hydraulic restraints do not fail in such a way that it could cause the restraints to release. This is because the restraints fail in the locked position. It is physically impossible for the restraint to have released during the ride. The only way to release the restraints after they have been locked is either in the station via high voltage contacts underneath the train, or via special portable power packs that apply the necessary voltage to unlock the restraints that a mechanic can take to an evacuation location in the event of emergency stop.

 

2) The ride is computer controlled, and there are sensors on each restraint that measure the angle of the lap bar. The lap bar must be pushed in far enough to exceed the minimum required angle for safe operation, at which point the green light turns on. The lap bar sensor is not able to gauge HOW the bar is sitting in relation to the rider's mass and body shape, only the closing angle. Thus there is no way for the restraint to indicate whether or not the bar was in contact with the rider's legs.

 

3) The train cannot be dispatched (even manually) unless all restraints are secure and all green lights are on. The train was successfully dispatched, so we can effectively rule out lap bar failure from the cause of death.

 

4) The victim is very large in stature and appears to be very top heavy, with a larger midsection compared to hips and thighs.

 

5) The Superman investigation revealed a body type that would not be properly secured by the ride restraints. The typical body type is large midsection and disproportionately small waist and legs.

 

6) NTAG is filled with ejector air time.

 

8) Hydraulic restraints are fairly difficult to push down and require effort.

 

 

Speculation:

 

1) It is common to see ride operators struggle to fit obese people into the restraints on various rides. I myself have seen occasions where 2-3 strong ride operators were nearly horizontal while throwing their entire combined body weight into the restraint in order to make the green light turn on. While there are no reports of this happening on NTAG, it is certainly possible and even plausible that at least one operator had to exert additional force in order to close the restraint and satisfy the sensor. Whether or not this is accepted park practice I don't know, but it is fairly common.

 

2) According to reports that have since proven unreliable, the woman expressed worry that she felt the restraint was not securing her properly.

 

3) I believe the lap bar was pressed into her bosom or stomach, leaving ample room between the lap bar and her legs. The first pop of ejector air could have forced her stomach/chest out and over the lap bar, leaving her essentially unsecured in the seat. The next pop of ejector air launched her from the ride.

 

4) The woman likely panicked after the first moment of ejector air and didn't have the time, energy, strength or thought to re-fasten her lap bar around her waist. She also wouldn't have enough upper body strength to hold on to the restraints in order to prevent ejection.

 

5) A lap seat belt could have prevented ejection from happening, but newer rides with hydraulic restraints are believed to not need seat belts due to the statistical impossibility of the restraints failing. It's also impossible for the manufacturer to test the restraints for every possible human body shape and size. This accident required the perfect storm of rider body type, operation conditions and G-forces to happen. Thus I don't believe the blame can be placed on the manufacturer of the trains in court, and certainly not RMC.

 

6) As a result of this death, several things could and might happen. One thing they could do is implement new lap bars with tighter shin bars that restrict leg movement, like Outlaw Run. Another possibility is seat belts, but the park will favor the shin bars because that won't affect ride capacity. They may also reprogram the ride controller to force the restraint closing angle to be even tighter. They will also likely revisit their policies of how to secure overweight guests. Other rides like Outlaw Run should not be affected, but knee jerk reactions are always a possibility in these types of tragedies.

Edited by Fender13
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I don't see why it's that complicated. If the ride system indicated she was safely restrained, and she wasn't, then the blame lies squarely on the company that designed the trains. And that seems to be the only logical explanation. When I say this could have been anyone's mom, obviously I mean if your mom was of that magical shape and size that Gerstlauer apparently didn't know people came in. But what about her proportions were so unusual? Sure the picture only shows her about from her shoulders up, but she looked like an ordinary person on the very large side. I'm gonna keep saying this, how could this have happened?

 

It was stated that the woman panicked. I wonder if, in her panic, she actually tried to free herself from the restraints.

 

That actually makes a good point. If she actually panicked, she may have tried to get out and slipped through the bars.

 

I would like somebody to explain to me why this in any way makes sense. If she was scared, why would she try to get OUT of her restraints? And how could she possibly succeed? Wouldn't it make more sense that she fell out either due to negative g-forces or the car turning 90 degrees sideways? Because she wasn't secured properly? I think people just want to blame the victim, but it's not happening, it wasn't anything she did wrong.

 

 

Now that you said it, I realized that my earlier post really didn't make sense

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5) A lap seat belt could have prevented ejection from happening, but newer rides with hydraulic restraints are believed to not need seat belts due to the statistical impossibility of the restraints failing. It's also impossible for the manufacturer to test the restraints for every possible human body shape and size. This accident required the perfect storm of rider body type, operation conditions and G-forces to happen. Thus I don't believe the blame can be placed on the manufacturer of the trains in court, and certainly not RMC.

 

This is where the entire issue lies, and I'm sorry but I don't buy it. If there are conditions where the lap bar can fail, and we KNOW this is true because it's happened on other rides in the past, then there should have been seat belts. If they didn't want to install them because they reduce capacity, then the designers and the park created an unsafe ride in the name of increased profit margins, no more, no less, and they should be held accountable.

 

As an aside, I've never ridden a ride with shin bars. Now that I see what they actually look like, I must say they don't look comfortable at all. Though I guess I'd prefer them to OTSR.

Edited by Dr. M
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5) A lap seat belt could have prevented ejection from happening, but newer rides with hydraulic restraints are believed to not need seat belts due to the statistical impossibility of the restraints failing. It's also impossible for the manufacturer to test the restraints for every possible human body shape and size. This accident required the perfect storm of rider body type, operation conditions and G-forces to happen. Thus I don't believe the blame can be placed on the manufacturer of the trains in court, and certainly not RMC.

 

This is where the entire issue lies, and I'm sorry but I don't buy it. If there are conditions where the lap bar can fail, and we KNOW this is true because it's happened on other rides in the past, then there should have been seat belts. If they didn't want to install them because they reduce capacity, then the designers and the park created an unsafe ride in the name of increased profit margins, no more, no less, and they should be held accountable.

 

As an aside, I've never ridden a ride with shin bars. Now that I see what they actually look like, I must say they don't look comfortable at all. Though I guess I'd prefer them to OTSR.

 

No, you're making a distinction here. The issue is not the lap bar failing, because it's statistically impossible. I also want to point out that you're putting words in my mouth about the seat belts. I never claimed the manufacturer intentionally left them out against safety protocol just for rider capacity gains. I don't have access to all the safety studies and mechanical testing they performed, but most if not all hydraulic restraints do not have seat belts. And that is across multiple manufacturers. The real issue here is that apparently there is not a one-size-fits-all restraint that can fit all body types at the programmed minimum restraint angle, and that's something I can't speculate about because I haven't seen the data.

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I believe this will turn out to be operator error for letting her ride in the first place. (Similar to the ride of steel accident in 2011)

 

How is it operator error if there are no rules stating that she is too large too ride? I have not heard of there being a sign of this nature for NTAG. It's only operator error if the operator did not follow established protocol.

 

 

2011 ride sign.

418948394_SFOT4_23.11011.thumb.JPG.4382edf38dd0aeb9cc40ee6c8adb9053.JPG

Edited by chadster
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5) A lap seat belt could have prevented ejection from happening, but newer rides with hydraulic restraints are believed to not need seat belts due to the statistical impossibility of the restraints failing. It's also impossible for the manufacturer to test the restraints for every possible human body shape and size. This accident required the perfect storm of rider body type, operation conditions and G-forces to happen. Thus I don't believe the blame can be placed on the manufacturer of the trains in court, and certainly not RMC.

 

This is where the entire issue lies, and I'm sorry but I don't buy it. If there are conditions where the lap bar can fail, and we KNOW this is true because it's happened on other rides in the past, then there should have been seat belts. If they didn't want to install them because they reduce capacity, then the designers and the park created an unsafe ride in the name of increased profit margins, no more, no less, and they should be held accountable.

 

As an aside, I've never ridden a ride with shin bars. Now that I see what they actually look like, I must say they don't look comfortable at all. Though I guess I'd prefer them to OTSR.

 

No, you're making a distinction here. The issue is not the lap bar failing, because it's statistically impossible. I also want to point out that you're putting words in my mouth about the seat belts. I never claimed the manufacturer intentionally left them out against safety protocol just for rider capacity gains. I don't have access to all the safety studies and mechanical testing they performed, but most if not all hydraulic restraints do not have seat belts. And that is across multiple manufacturers.

 

She fell out of the ride, OBVIOUSLY the lap bar failed. I'm not saying it sprang open, I'm saying it failed to keep her in the train. Not statistically impossible, because it happened. I'm not putting words into your mouth, I myself am saying the only reason they wouldn't put seat belts in is due to cost and ride capacity, and we see here that if they had been installed, this woman would still be alive, so obviously they were necessary. I can't speak for all hydraulic restraints but in this case, this was/is not a safe ride, for riders of a certain body type. Why should they not be held responsible?

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Well, according to that photo, this may actually turn out to be operator error. I didn't realize the sign specifically stated the bar must touch the thigh. That said, there's no way to tell at this point, it very well could be something entirely different.

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Speculation:

 

1) It is common to see ride operators struggle to fit obese people into the restraints on various rides. I myself have seen occasions where 2-3 strong ride operators were nearly horizontal while throwing their entire combined body weight into the restraint in order to make the green light turn on. While there are no reports of this happening on NTAG, it is certainly possible and even plausible that at least one operator had to exert additional force in order to close the restraint and satisfy the sensor. Whether or not this is accepted park practice I don't know, but it is fairly common.

 

2) According to reports that have since proven unreliable, the woman expressed worry that she felt the restraint was not securing her properly.

 

3) I believe the lap bar was pressed into her bosom or stomach, leaving ample room between the lap bar and her legs. The first pop of ejector air could have forced her stomach/chest out and over the lap bar, leaving her essentially unsecured in the seat. The next pop of ejector air launched her from the ride.

 

4) The woman likely panicked after the first moment of ejector air and didn't have the time, energy, strength or thought to re-fasten her lap bar around her waist. She also wouldn't have enough upper body strength to hold on to the restraints in order to prevent ejection.

 

5) A lap seat belt could have prevented ejection from happening, but newer rides with hydraulic restraints are believed to not need seat belts due to the statistical impossibility of the restraints failing. It's also impossible for the manufacturer to test the restraints for every possible human body shape and size. This accident required the perfect storm of rider body type, operation conditions and G-forces to happen. Thus I don't believe the blame can be placed on the manufacturer of the trains in court, and certainly not RMC.

 

6) As a result of this death, several things could and might happen. One thing they could do is implement new lap bars with tighter shin bars that restrict leg movement, like Outlaw Run. Another possibility is seat belts, but the park will favor the shin bars because that won't affect ride capacity. They may also reprogram the ride controller to force the restraint closing angle to be even tighter. They will also likely revisit their policies of how to secure overweight guests. Other rides like Outlaw Run should not be affected, but knee jerk reactions are always a possibility in these types of tragedies.

 

To me, this all seems like the most likely and reasonable scenario. We don't know for sure yet, but I guess we'll all see soon.

 

She fell out of the ride, OBVIOUSLY the lap bar failed. I'm not saying it sprang open, I'm saying it failed to keep her in the train. Not statistically impossible, because it happened. I'm not putting words into your mouth, I myself am saying the only reason they wouldn't put seat belts in is due to cost and ride capacity, and we see here that if they had been installed, this woman would still be alive, so obviously they were necessary. This was not a safe ride.

 

If if was indeed a case of the restraint resting on her stomach and not her thighs, than it is 100% not a lap bar failure like you said. The ride regulations clearly state: "Lap bar must firmly contact top of leg on thigh." I don't believe that ride rule was met.

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Facts:

 

1) The Gerstlauer trains running on NTAG use hydraulic restraints. Hydraulic restraints do not fail in such a way that it could cause the restraints to release. This is because the restraints fail in the locked position. It is physically impossible for the restraint to have released during the ride. The only way to release the restraints after they have been locked is either in the station via high voltage contacts underneath the train, or via special portable power packs that apply the necessary voltage to unlock the restraints that a mechanic can take to an evacuation location in the event of emergency stop.

 

2) The ride is computer controlled, and there are sensors on each restraint that measure the angle of the lap bar. The lap bar must be pushed in far enough to exceed the minimum required angle for safe operation, at which point the green light turns on. The lap bar sensor is not able to gauge HOW the bar is sitting in relation to the rider's mass and body shape, only the closing angle. Thus there is no way for the restraint to indicate whether or not the bar was in contact with the rider's legs.

 

3) The train cannot be dispatched (even manually) unless all restraints are secure and all green lights are on. The train was successfully dispatched, so we can effectively rule out lap bar failure from the cause of death.

 

4) The victim is very large in stature and appears to be very top heavy, with a larger midsection compared to hips and thighs.

 

5) The Superman investigation revealed a body type that would not be properly secured by the ride restraints. The typical body type is large midsection and disproportionately small waist and legs.

 

6) NTAG is filled with ejector air time.

 

8) Hydraulic restraints are fairly difficult to push down and require effort.

 

 

Having worked on coasters with hydraulic restraints (Including a Gerstlauer), I can back this up. Most of everything stated by Fender13 is true. The only thing I have experienced that differs from the quoted post is that the Gerstlauer I have worked on could indeed be dispatched with the restraints up in Manual Mode, which only maintenance has access to.

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^^Lets go with that for a very quick moment. If she had a panic attack, even if there was a seatbelt installed the seatbelt could have easily been released, as is on most rides with them, in order to aide in freeing herself. The addition of a seatbelt would not have helped.

 

Of course seatbelts really don't matter in this case as this restraint system does not need them by design.

 

^In manual mode, virtually anything is possible, you are correct.

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^^Lets go with that for a very quick moment. If she had a panic attack, even if there was a seatbelt installed the seatbelt could have easily been released, as is on most rides with them, in order to aide in freeing herself. The addition of a seatbelt would not have helped.

 

Of course seatbelts really don't matter in this case as this restraint system does not need them by design.

 

^In manual mode, virtually anything is possible, you are correct.

 

You say it could have "easily" been released, but I've been on plenty of rides where it's not immediately obvious how the belt is released and it takes one or two tries before you get it. In the midst of a panic attack, it's possible she wouldn't have been able to release it, especially with increased pressure on the mechanism from the forces. It's all meaningless speculation anyway. Maybe if she'd felt the seat belt securing her, she wouldn't have panicked in the first place!

Edited by Dr. M
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Facts:

 

1) The Gerstlauer trains running on NTAG use hydraulic restraints. Hydraulic restraints do not fail in such a way that it could cause the restraints to release. This is because the restraints fail in the locked position. It is physically impossible for the restraint to have released during the ride. The only way to release the restraints after they have been locked is either in the station via high voltage contacts underneath the train, or via special portable power packs that apply the necessary voltage to unlock the restraints that a mechanic can take to an evacuation location in the event of emergency stop.

 

2) The ride is computer controlled, and there are sensors on each restraint that measure the angle of the lap bar. The lap bar must be pushed in far enough to exceed the minimum required angle for safe operation, at which point the green light turns on. The lap bar sensor is not able to gauge HOW the bar is sitting in relation to the rider's mass and body shape, only the closing angle. Thus there is no way for the restraint to indicate whether or not the bar was in contact with the rider's legs.

 

3) The train cannot be dispatched (even manually) unless all restraints are secure and all green lights are on. The train was successfully dispatched, so we can effectively rule out lap bar failure from the cause of death.

 

4) The victim is very large in stature and appears to be very top heavy, with a larger midsection compared to hips and thighs.

 

5) The Superman investigation revealed a body type that would not be properly secured by the ride restraints. The typical body type is large midsection and disproportionately small waist and legs.

 

6) NTAG is filled with ejector air time.

 

8) Hydraulic restraints are fairly difficult to push down and require effort.

 

 

Having worked on coasters with hydraulic restraints (Including a Gerstlauer), I can back this up. Most of everything stated by Fender13 is true. The only thing I have experienced that differs from the quoted post is that the Gerstlauer I have worked on could indeed be dispatched with the restraints up in Manual Mode, which only maintenance has access to.

 

Thanks for the correction. Of course I'm sure they will conclude that wasn't the case, but it's a valid thing to note.

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So I was explaining this to my mother, and I think what it will come down to is just that the trains had an almost unforeseeable design flaw and that it was a perfect storm with regards to body shape and lap bar distance/angle. There is no way the ops could've known because everything indicated she was fine. I don't quite understand the discussions saying that she was too large to ride because if you look at the picture (https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/p320x320/999648_484139811674658_1129613659_n.jpg) she doesn't actually look too big where it would an issue, in her or stomach lap area. She seems to carry most of her weight in her upper body. My mom said she doesn't look anything like what she was expecting when I said "size seems to have been a factor." Of course we don't know how dated the photo is or if the angle hides it, but she really doesn't seem too big.

 

When I was explaining it to her, I was using Apollo's Chariot as an example and said that for a rider to fall out, the femur would literally have to break in half. If the above were the case, would her weight, the majority of which was above the lap bar, and therefore unsupported, combined with the ridiculous airtime be able to put enough stress on her legs to break them? I mean if she had smaller legs or--complete speculation here--bone weakness or something, it might be possible? A bit of a stretch, but perhaps no more unlikely than the one in a million chance that accident would happen in the first place. It would explain the lack of mechanical failure and the lack of an immediate explanation because (forgive the morbidity) after the fall her bones were probably broken anyway, so it'd be hard to tell. It's such a weird and terrible accident.

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When I was explaining it to her, I was using Apollo's Chariot as an example and said that for a rider to fall out, the femur would literally have to break in half. If the above were the case, would her weight, the majority of which was above the lap bar, and therefore unsupported, combined with the ridiculous airtime be able to put enough stress on her legs to break them? I mean if she had smaller legs or--complete speculation here--bone weakness or something, it might be possible? A bit of a stretch, but perhaps no more unlikely than the one in a million chance that accident would happen in the first place. It would explain the lack of mechanical failure and the lack of an immediate explanation because (forgive the morbidity) after the fall her bones were probably broken anyway, so it'd be hard to tell. It's such a weird and terrible accident.

 

Watch this video that was posted a couple pages back and it's very easy to see how she slipped out, no broken bones involved. I've sort of changed my mind about all this, it seems to be primarily operator error. This video combined with the entrance sign posted above pretty much tells you all you need to know. The bar was touching her belly or bosom, not her thighs, so it didn't come down far enough to properly secure her, and the sign clearly explains that that has to be avoided.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0KmTMf0VVQ

 

Really not much more to say, I guess.

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