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Pretty sure this won't come as a shock


Six Flags Over Texas denied claims of negligence and other misconduct in response to the wrongful-death lawsuit filed after July’s Texas Giant accident, according to the latest court filing.


In response to the lawsuit filed last month, Six Flags’ attorneys wrote that the park didn’t anticipate an accident like the one that killed 52-year-old Rosa Esparza. Friday’s court filing said Six Flags officials didn’t believe that any similar accidents had occurred on roller coasters designed by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides. Also, the park’s lawyers explained that about 2.5 million people had ridden the redesigned Texas Giant before Esparza’s fatal fall.


The lawsuit’s response said Six Flags relied on the expertise of the ride’s designers and manufacturers when it opened the new Texas Giant. The park also has a “comprehensive inspection and maintenance procedure” that was “patterned in compliance with the manufacturers recommendations,” according to the court filing.


The Texas Giant reopened last month with new restraint bar pads and seat belts. The park also announced that some customers could be turned away since “guests with unique body shapes or sizes may not fit into the restraint system.” Esparza was a larger woman, but it’s unclear what role that played in her fall.


Six Flags announced the reopening of the roller coaster hours after the Esparza family lawsuit was filed. The family’s attorney, Frank L. Branson, said at the time that the amusement park industry had long known that seatbelts or other restraints were needed in addition to the lap bars.


Branson was not immediately available for comment.





And here the park points the finger to Gerstlauer


ARLINGTON — Six Flags Over Texas is shifting the blame in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of Rosy Esparza.

Esparza died July 19 after she was thrown from the new Texas Giant roller coaster.

In a legal filing, Six Flags said it doesn't have any liability because it didn't design or build the cars used on the coaster.

Six Flags also defended its inspection record and the staff's response to the deadly accident.




And a really good video of the finger pointing




And here is Six Flags response to the lawsuit in pdf


FW Star

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Is it correct that Gerstlauer just manufactured the trains, and that RMC designed the track and modified structure?


The article below gives Gerstlauer all of the credit. And I see a bunch of other errors, like calling it a wooden coaster. Sorry, I'm on Tapatalk. Is it the same article? This one is from Ft. Worth Star Telegram.


Six Flags denies liability in fatal roller coaster accident




FORT WORTH — Six Flags Over Texas denied liability in the July accident of a Dallas woman who fell to her death from the Texas Giant roller coaster, saying in a court filing that it complied with inspections and maintenance procedures recommended by the German company that designed and built the ride.


Six Flags, in its response to a lawsuit filed last month by the woman’s relatives, said it “relied upon the expertise” of Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, which designed and manufactured the roller coaster train, its passenger restraint system and the track the ride operates on.


Six Flags says it was unaware of any similar incidents occurring on any Gerstlauer roller coaster like the Texas Giant.


“Six Flags believes it met all of the manufacturer’s maintenance and operational instructions, applicable to ASTM (American Society of Testing and Materials International) standards and all the requirements of Texas law as evidenced by the fact that the new Texas Giant roller coaster had received a certificate of inspection indicating same from an independent inspector just a few months before the incident involving Mrs. Esparza,” the filing said.


Rosa Esparza, 52, was killed July 19 on her first visit to the Six Flags park in Arlington. Her family filed suit in September in Tarrant County naming the amusement park, Six Flags Entertainment Corp., Six Flags Theme Parks, Inc. and Texas Flags, Ltd. as defendants. The family is seeking more than $1 million in monetary relief.


Emails sent to Gerstlauer Amusement Rides in Münsterhausen, Germany, seeking comment were not immediately returned. The company was not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.


Frank Branson, the attorney representing the Esparza family, could not be reached for immediate comment Monday.


The ride was immediately shut down following the accident, and was reopened last month after Six Flags said its investigation found that no mechanical failure was involved in the accident. Six Flags, though, added re-designed restraint-bar pads from the manufacturer and new seat belts.


The park also began providing a coaster seat at the ride entrance so guests can test their fit before entering the line, saying guests with “unique body shapes and sizes” may not fit into the ride’s restraint system.


The family’s suit says Esparza, who also went by the last name Ayala-Gaona, was upside down in her seat and holding on for “dear life” before she was thrown to her death. Esparza was in the front left seat of the train’s second car behind her daughter and son-in-law. The car had no seat belt or shoulder harness, only a single lap or “T-bar” to restrain passengers.


Six Flags said in its filing that 2.5 million people had ridden the new Texas Giant before the accident. The Texas Giant opened at Six Flags Over Texas in 1990, but the ride was closed at the end of the 2009 season for a $10 million renovation to make it faster, smoother and more thrilling. The ride reopened in April 2011.


The Texas Giant rises 14 stories high and has a 79-degree first drop, the steepest in the world for a wooden roller coaster.


The family’s suit alleges there were problems with the ride’s security system, saying the green-light system was experiencing inconsistencies and intermittent failures that shouldn’t have allowed the train to be dispatched unless each safety bar restraint was in the proper position.


The suit alleges that inspections later found there were inconsistencies in the relative locking positions of the safety bars on the train’s cars, as well as failures found in the green light system.


In its response, Six Flags said the green-light system was also designed by Gerstlauer.




Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/07/3676240/six-flags-denies-liability-in.html#storylink=cpy

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^ Yes, RMC designed, fabricated, and installed the track and placed the mechanicals. Six Flags did their own PLC, or contracted for it and Gerstlauer built the three trains. The red train appears to be unmodified and sitting in it's transfer area covered with a sheet (fitting, eh?) for obvious reasons.

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Going to the park this weekend with the family now that the weather has finally cooled down. My daughter is finally 36" tall so hoping to get her on her first roller coaster. Which kiddie coaster is a better 'first' coaster? I'm thinking mini mine train since I grew up with that one and it is more of a classic.


She rode her first log ride at the fair this past weekend and loved it. Is the log ride still open for fright fest? I know Roaring Rapids is closed due to the haunt but are there any other rides closed? Thanks!


Hoping the concert this weekend doesn't affect crowd levels too much...

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Quick question: I'm looking at maybe going to the park on Sunday. It doesn't appear to be thunderstorms, so do you think most of the rides would be operating? I've got to get a few rides on Shocky. What do you think?

If there is lightning within 20 miles of the park they'll shut down all the high profile rides (including Shock Wave). If it is just rainy, no lightning then they only close some of the rides (Pandemonium, bobsled ride, and a handful of others). I've been when it has been off and on rain and rode all of the coasters I wanted to ride. It's a gamble.

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Got an email survey involving questions about the accident at SFOT and what people know about it. The survey also asked about impact on going to the park since the accident, and there was a little bit about new rides too. But nothing really with new information. Just basic questions. It's good that they're trying to get this out there and gauge how the GP feels about all this right now.

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Any advice as far as hitting the park on Saturday? I'm stuck going tomorrow(though any day riding rollercoasters can possibly be bad, right?). I'm going with a few buddies from school who want to ride everything we can in about ten hours. Which rides should we hit first? Good haunted houses?

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I just got the survey about the accident. I basically wrote that I would continue riding coasters and going to theme parks. Towards the end of my survey they added a part about wifi at the parks. I think that would be nice to see free wifi at all the Six Flags parks. I feel all theme parks should have wifi.

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Just got back from Frightfest, had a great time. Six haunted houses this year- Circus Berzerkis, Cadaver Asylum, Total Darkness, Skullduggery, Piggy's Slaughter House and Zombie Factory. Piggy's Slaughter House is easily the best, but the 3D effects in Circus Berzerkis are pretty cool- especially the 3D bugs on the walls. Total Darkness was ok for a good scare but you have to hold onto a rope with several other people. This causes problems in the dark, especially when some idiot in front of you panics and starts yanking you all over the place.


Cadaver Asylum is pretty much the same as last year. One of the actors inside Cadaver Asylum made a terrible mistake tonight and nearly knocked himself unconscious. It happened about mid-way through the attraction. I was about to go through a doorway covered with long strips of black plastic. The scare actor was on the other side and unaware that I was about to come through. I reached in front of me to part the plastic strips as I went. The actor on the other side picked that exact moment to charge through with a blood curdling scream. He charged directly into my outstreached knuckles as I was grabbing the plastic. My hand caught him flush under the chin and sent him staggering backwards against the wall. He collapsed to the floor and I immediately said "oh, sorry, I didn't see you" hoping he wouldn't think that I had done it on purpose. He waved me on through from his seated position but he was clearly too dazed to stand back up. I left him there to recover.


Zombie Factory is a short but sweet attraction with plenty of good special effects, the fright actors did a great job. Skullduggery is best at night. Walking through the foggy woods with plenty of fright actors to keep you entertained.


All in all a great trip to the park.

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Any advice as far as hitting the park on Saturday? I'm stuck going tomorrow(though any day riding rollercoasters can possibly be bad, right?). I'm going with a few buddies from school who want to ride everything we can in about ten hours. Which rides should we hit first? Good haunted houses?


We went on Saturday. In four hours we rode two rides. Three, if you count riding the choo choo train around the park. The only ride that didn't have some sort of a delay was Shock Wave, at a 30-45 min wait. That didn't bother me so much. I can remember a time when 30 minutes to ride Shock Wave was the norm. Titan broke down twice while in line. They were running 3 trains, so the long line wasn't so intimidating, as it goes fast on a normal 2 train day, so 3 should make it go faster, right? Nope. An hour or so and 2 breakdowns later we were on. They ended up pulling a train. Guess it was the trouble maker making it breakdown. The breakdowns weren't too long, and not an uncommon occurrence for Titan. I learned a hard lesson. Fall is here, and I wasn't properly layered. That was a cooooold 85 mph!! LOL. Last weekend we were at the State Fair sweating our brains out. This weekend, Six Flags and I was chilled to the bone. I had a jean jacket and medium sleeved top on, with jeans. Next time, layers! Gotta love Texas weather.

I have to say that is one of the most busiest times I have been there. We parked waaay back at the back row by the ballpark! The only reason we went was to get our free gold upgrade on our 2014 passes before next weekend. We expected it to be somewhat busy, but with the State Fair still open we were kinda surprised to see it so busy. I30 was a parking lot, both ways getting into the Fair. At least it wasn't a long wait to process our passes. With that being said, we accomplished what we set out to do, so it's all good.

The scare zones were funny. My boys had fun in them. I am definitely ready for Holiday in the Park. Especially since it is open all Thanksgiving week!! Gonna take my crew out on that Monday or Tuesday. Can't wait for some Six Flags hot chocolate!! Best ever! Gotta get it at the fudge place though. They put fudge in it. OMG.

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Sounds like the PR department is going to surveys to figure out they're plan moving forward. I don't blame them. Poll to see what the people feel and think, then change your marketing to incorporate that.

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Visited the park for the first time in over a year today. Weather was perfect. My wife and I took our daughter who is finally 36" tall. She rode her first two roller coasters and loved them! Hands up all the way! I didn't even have to tell her to do it. Although she may be a log ride enthusiast because we had to ride that one multiple times. She giggled the whole ride every time, and again hands up the whole ride. She always had people laughing in line when she had her hands up as we went under the bridge at the beggining. I didn't ride any big rides since the day was more about my daughter riding stuff but the que lines looked pretty full for most of the major rides. New Texas Giant looked like an hour wait most of the day with two trains running. My wife did get to ride skyscreamer and loved it. With a full 'normal' que (no overflow) she waited about 45min. When we arrived around 11:45 we went through a temporary entrance set up under La Vibora. How long has that been around? We just walked right on in, no wait, which set the tone for the day. Previous visits it could take up to 30min to get through the main gates which just frusterated you from the beginning.


I was very pleased to see how much Six Flags has seemed to invest in Fright Fest this year. Previous years Fright Fest always felt like a cheesy backyard haunt with next to no budget. This year the event just had a more 'legit' feel to it than in past years. We didn't do any of the houses since my daughter was with us, but all of the houses 'looked' good from the outside and had full ques. I was also glad to see scare zones come back to the park. We left before dark so didn't get to see them in action but again its just nice to know SFOT is investing in Fright Fest. Makeup on the various employees was pretty good looking compared to previous years. The park was busy and the houses had good lines from the time they opened. Previous years the houses were walk ons the entire day even with a full park. Hopefully this is just the beginning to a better haunt at the park!


Even though operations could be better the visit was nicer than recent visits. It felt like the park was really trying to set up an overall better environment for the customers. Employees appeared to be enjoying themeselves a little more than previous visits, still no energetic loading speeds but at least they seem to have a happy/positive sound in their voices. Then again, it was in the 60's most of the day so that MIGHT have had somethign to do with it . I think the park is moving in the right direction, especially after the accident, but still has a ways to go on operations to minimize lines.

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To the guy with his insider info that said the Gotham coasters would be open for Holiday in the Park (the same guy that told us when NTAG would re-open). I just saw the list of rides that will be open on their website and was sad to see those two not on the list. I am looking forward to going Thanksgiving week, early!

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Texas Giant Lawsuit amended to include the ride maker:




The family of a woman killed when she fell from the Texas Giant ride at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington has amended its lawsuit against the theme park company to include the maker of the ride.


Last month, the family of 52-year-old Rosa Esparza filed a wrongful death suit in District Court in Tarrant County stemming from the July 19 accident at the chain’s original park. The Dallas woman slipped out of her seat and fell 75 feet as the roller coaster made its first rapid descent.


Earlier this month, the family filed an amended complaint naming Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, GmbH, the ride manufacturer, as a co-defendant in the lawsuit, according to a Six Flags filing Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.


Six Flags has denied claims of negligence and other misconduct. In a court filing, Six Flags officials said they didn’t believe that any similar accidents had occurred on roller coasters designed by German-based Gerstlauer.


Arnie von Waldow, the lead attorney representing Gerstlauer for the Reed Smith law firm, said the ride maker will deny that there was any defect in the design of the ride, and will also deny that any alleged defect in the design attributable to Gerstlauer caused the fatal accident.


“A bunch of allegations have been made … without any proof,” said von Waldow. “There has been no evidence presented to support any of these allegations. There’s been no finding in that regard by any investigative agency.”


“This is an accident, a very tragic accident,” he added. “What the family is going through is very sad. They deserve a lot of compassion, they really do.”


Due to the ongoing lawsuit, a spokeswoman with Grand Prairie-based Six Flags declined comment late Wednesday.

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^ I'm sure it will be a long process before this is all over. At least for now, it sounds like RMC is not in the lawsuit.


I need to get back to the park ride NTAG. I haven't been on it since last November. Hopefully I can go to Holiday in the Park this season.

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There is a new article out on NTAG accident along with a police report. I have posted link to report below article. Warning: police report is a little graphic.


ARLINGTON — The horrifying final moments of Rosy Esparza's life the day she was thrown from the Texas Giant roller coaster on July 19 is detailed from witness accounts in an Arlington police report.


In the 92-page report, obtained by WFAA through The Dallas Morning News, witnesses described the moments before the train took off through the moment Esparza was thrown from the car and the ride came to an end at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.


In July, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner determined the 52-year-old woman was killed when she fell 75 feet and struck a support beam.


After an extensive search, her body was discovered by Officer J. Alvarez, who wrote that he spotted her from an observation deck.


"Upon observing the body, I could see that the body had completely been severed almost in half and came to rest against a wooden beam on top of a metal building," Alvarez reported.


The metal building was the top of the tunnel of a lower track, said investigator J. Fernandes in the report.


According to the report, a unidentified Six Flags employee told police that when she or he checked Esparza's restraint, they felt it was "a little high, or not as tight as it should be." The employee said she or he went back to check indicator lights on the control panel that light up when the restraints are not secure and there were no signs of a problem.


The employee said if there was a malfunction with the indicator, the system would halt the train from being able to leave the station.


The employee told the officer there was a previous problem with the train, called the "red train," a few days before the accident. In that instance, maintenance was called out to fix sensors that were not working properly.


On July 19, Esparza was sitting in the third row of the roller coaster and was ejected as the ride began its descent from the first large hill of the track, county spokeswoman Linda Faye Anderson said after the accident.


According to the police report, the consensus of the witnesses was that Esparza came loose during the first descent of the ride.


Cody Rush spoke with News 8 from his home in Tulsa. He was on the same train with a friend and said they were within arm’s reach of Esparza. He said she was laughing and smiling when the ride started, but things took a horrible turn after the first major descent.


Esparza's daughter, Aracely Segovia, was seated behind her mother on the ride. In the report, Segovia said she heard yelling after the first descent.


Then, when the train went over the second bump, witnesses said Esparza was thrown forward violently and may have hit her head.


Segovia turned around on the second bump and saw her mother slumped over in the car. She described her mother as almost completely upside down with her head near the floor of the car and her feet almost straight up in the air.


Finally, witnesses said, as the ride neared the third ascent, Esparza was thrown from the car. Segovia said she saw her mother being tossed out of the car.


Joshua Fleak, 19, said he was sitting directly behind the victim and saw her ejected from the ride head-first.


When Rush saw Esparza roll out of the car, he got scared.


“We were holding on to each other and praying," he said. "That was the longest roller coaster ride of my life.”


Several witnesses believed they heard a popping sound from Esparza's seat when the car came down on the descent.


An experienced ride operator said when the red train went by, he or she remembered thinking the restraint wasn't all the way down on Esparza's thigh, but the ride operator said they figured it would be OK due to the woman's size and because the restraint was far down enough to register on the control panel.


The same operator said there have been issues with the red train's control panel in the past, and that he or she had seen the trouble light on the Esparza's car three within the week before the accident. The operator also said once the train returned, he or she noticed the restraint was higher than when the train had been dispatched.


Several weeks after the accident, Arlington police received a video from a teenager who had been riding in car three the week before Esparza was killed.


The camera was in a storage pouch in front of the seat and showed two riders in the car. In the 16th second of the video, the report said police watching the footage heard a distinct "pop" sound and immediately after, the two riders are heard yelling for the operator to stop the ride.


While the video did not show if the restraint had moved, the report claims after the riders called out in the video, a loudspeaker on a ride announces, "Car three unlocked, car three and four are now unlocked. Recheck car three, recheck car four."


Esparza's family filed a lawsuit against Six Flags in September, the same week the ride reopened.


The family's suit said after the mother's death, inspections showed that various parts of the security systems on the ride were experiencing inconsistencies and intermittent failures. It alleges that Six Flags admitted after the inspections "they replaced a 'limit switch' for a restraint in a seat in the very car in which Rosa [Esparza] was riding because Six Flags found the switch to be defective."


The Esparza family's lawsuit, which accuses Six Flags of negligence, alleges that Six Flags has been reactive, not proactive in regard to safety systems and that caused Esparza's death. The Esparza family attorneys have requested a jury trial, and requested compensation of at least $1 million.


Six Flags has claimed it did not have any liability because they didn't design or build the cars used on the coaster, and said the Texas Giant got a green light to resume operations in September from the Texas Department of Insurance after extensive testing.


"The Texas Giant re-opened in September after external and internal experts determined the coaster was safe to ride and that the accident was not caused by any mechanical failure," said Six Flags Over Texas President Steve Martindale in a statement released Thursday. "We added incremental and overlapping safety measures to the ride including re-designed lap-bar restraint pads and seat belts. We also added a test seat at the ride-line entrance so guests can determine if they properly fit in the restraint system."


"We continue to extend our deepest condolences to the Esparza family," Martindale said. "This was a tragic accident that deeply affected our employees, especially since safety is our highest priority and at the heart of everything we do."



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That report is exactly what I expected to be the case: operators did their job according to the SOP, but something may have been wrong with the sensor/they still should have used better judgement.

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