Six Flags responds to suit after woman's death

Oct. 16, 2013 at 3:34 PM
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ARLINGTON, Texas, Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Six Flags Over Texas has refuted claims made by the family of a woman killed on a roller coaster at the park, saying it followed all appropriate safety rules.

Rosa Esparza, 52, was riding the Texas Giant July 19 when a lap bar restraint failed. Her daughter and son-in-law, riding in the car in front of her, said during the ride's initial first drop they heard panicked screaming and turned around to see Esparza upside down and holding onto the lap bar "for dear life," the Houston Chronicle said.

She was then thrown from the ride, struck a piling and landed on a metal tunnel where she died.

Esparza's family has filed suit in Tarrant County's 342nd State District Court, seeking more than $1 million in damages related to the incident, charging employees failed to follow safety protocols and that the ride itself had suffered intermittent failures during the day prior to Esparza's death.

Six Flags has since responded to the claim, saying it did not build the ride and is thus not responsible for the safety failure, pointing the finger at the manufacturer, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides. Lawyers for the amusement park have requested a jury trial to respond to the allegations. The company said in court documents "all manufacturer's maintenance and operational instructions, applicable ... standards and all the requirements of Texas law" were followed.

Six Flags has admitted workers replaced a restraint "limit switch" on the car Esparza was riding in following the accident, the family's lawsuit states.

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