Watch CBS News

The Texas Giant Reopens Nearly 2 Months After Tragedy

ARLINGTON (CBS 11 NEWS) - It was designed to provide a scare for fun, not scare someone to death. The Texas Giant roller coaster reopened at Six Flags in Arlington nearly two months after a woman was flung from it to her death.

The Texas Giant boasts the steepest drop of any wooden roller-coaster anywhere -- 79-degrees from 14 stories up. And it was during that drop that Rosa Esparza was flung out of the car and killed on July 19.

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

This week her family sued Six Flags; on the same day the park announced the ride would reopen today with some new safety measures.

Size is an issue; riders have to fit into a new test seat at the ride entrance to make sure they're not too big to ride. They must pull a replica T-bar security device forward enough to trigger a "beep" in a receiver before they can queue up to ride. Size proved to be a problem for some fans, such as Heath Barnes. "No, I can't fit in the ride. the new restraints won't fit. Even though I rode it several times before 2-3 days before they closed it," he said.

The Texas Giant is a hybrid; some metal infrastructure but mostly it's wood because fans say wooden roller coasters are scarier.

Before the accident there was only the T-bar to keep you in. Now Six Flags has added seat belts. It also provides new warning lights to make sure the T-bar is snug. In fact, on my trip ride operators reopened the car in which I was riding. We went through the belting-in process again. Seats are contoured, no longer bench-style. During the ride itself I could feel the T-bar pinning me but was not aware of the seat belt being tugged-on. People who are regular riders tell me they got the thrill they were looking for.

Six Flags was unable to provide a spokesperson willing to speak to CBS 11 News on-camera, but said the park's president rode the Texas Giant before the ride reopened.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Latest News:

Top Trending:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.