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Six Flags Sued Over Texas Giant Death, Coaster Will Reopen This Weekend

Rosa Ayala-Goana
Rosa Esparza was thrown from The Texas Giant at Six Flags Flags Over Texas in Arlington. (credit: Esparza family)

ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – The family of the woman who fell to her death while riding a roller coaster has filed a lawsuit against Six Flags Over Texas.

Rosy Esparza fell out of her seat while riding the Texas Giant on July 19.  According to the lawsuit, she was riding alone in the front seat of the coaster's second car, behind her son-in-law and daughter.  The suit claims that her daughter heard her mother screaming during the first large hill and turned around to see Esparza had been thrown out of the car and was  struggling to hold on to the safety bar in an upside down position, with her head down and her legs up.  Esparza's daughter then witnessed her mother ejected from the ride, according to the suit, which also states Six Flags employees initially did not believe that a passenger had been thrown from the train.

The suit also suggests the roller coaster's green light system, which is supposed to indicate whether the ride's safety bars are secure, may have malfunctioned during Esparza's ride.  After her death, Six Flags tested the system and found "inconsistencies and intermittent failures" with the system.  According to the lawsuit, Six Flags replaced a defective switch in the car where Esparza was riding.  The lawsuit asks for damages of at least $1,000,000.

Meanwhile, the theme park says it has wrapped up its internal investigation of the accident and after extensive testing, the roller coaster will reopen this weekend. Six Flags has ruled out any mechanical failure of the ride, but the park will not release any information about the investigation because of the pending lawsuit.  However, in a written statement, the park announced it has added new seat belts and redesigned restraint-bar pads from the manufacturer.   Because "guests with unique body shapes or sizes may not fit into the restraint system," the statement says a coaster seat will also be added to the Texas Giant entrance so potential riders can test whether they fit before they get in line.

"We are heartbroken and will forever feel the pain and sadness of this tragic accident. Our sincerest condolences go out to the family and friends of Ms. Esparza," said Six Flags Over Texas President Steve Martindale.

He also emphasized the safety of Six Flags guests is always a top priority and said he will join his family and staff as the first riders on the coaster when it reopens to the public.

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