A Six Flags death this weekend will lead to an investigation over how a rider was thrown from a roller coaster, but instead of police conducting the investigation it will be the park itself.
On Friday night a mother from Dallas fell to her death while on the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags over Texas. While the Arlington police and fire department were called to the scene, the death of Rosy Esparza was believed to be an accident so no in-depth police investigation is likely.
The Texas Department of Insurance, the state body responsible for regulating the park, is mainly concerned with making sure rides are insured an inspected, which is the case with the Texas Giant ride.
So from now on, the details the public learns about the Six Flags death are likely to come from the park’s own legal and public relations representatives.
“In all likelihood do you think Six Flags is going to come out and say ‘we screwed up,’ ” Kenneth Martin, a roller coaster inspector and accident investigator often hired by lawyers and manufacturers, told the Dallas News. “Probably not.”
The park has vowed to investigate the death thoroughly.
“We are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident and will utilize every resource throughout this process,” wrote Sharon Parker, a park spokeswoman. “It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired. When we have new information to provide, we will do so. Our thoughts, prayers and full support remain with the family.”
But Martin said this may not be the case. Because the investigation will be internal, the factors that led to the Six Flags death may never come to light.
The Six Flags death appears to be a rare occurrence The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions found there were only 4.3 accidents per 1 million visitors in 2011.
“Events like this are extremely rare, and safety is the No. 1 priority for the amusement park industry,” association spokeswoman Colleen Mangone said Saturday.
At Six Flags, other park goers said it appeared negligence or faulty design may have played a part in the death. The woman complained that her restraints didn’t appear to be tight before the ride departed, they said.
“Literally just witnessed someone fly off the Texas Giant two seats in front of me,” tweeted Joshua Paul Fleak. “Restraint came undone, coaster turned and she was gone.”
After the Six Flags death, some of Esparza’s family members said they plan to retain a lawyer.