This Is the Texas Giant Drop That Tossed a Dallas Woman From the Six Flags Coaster

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At roughly the 54-second mark of this 2011 video, Six Flags' Texas Giant roller coaster reaches the apex of that first climb. Then, it descends at a 79-degree angle -- almost straight down -- for nearly 150 feet. At around 7 p.m. Friday, during this stomach-churning descent, 52-year-old Rosa Irene Ayala-Gaona was ejected from the third car, according to the inquest conducted by the Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office.

She fell for 75 feet before striking a metal support beam, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Her body finally came to rest on the roof of a tunnel. Ayala-Gaona died of "multiple traumatic injuries."

At least one witness described her as "frantic" when the coaster was preparing to disembark. She believed her safety bar hadn't been properly secured. It didn't "click" as many times as the others when it was locked in place, a witness said. That could mean mechanical malfunction or error on the part of Six Flags employees.

But because there is no state agency charged with investigating amusement park accidents, Six Flags Over Texas will be conducting the inquiry itself. And because a lawsuit is all but guaranteed, who knows when the results of the investigation will be released? U.S. Representative Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, pushed a bill in 2011 to restore jurisdiction over amusement parks to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, but it died in committee. He's calling on Congress again to provide better oversight.

None of which is likely to satisfy Ayala-Gaona's family, or the thousands of Six Flags patrons who'll almost certainly think twice before setting foot on another roller coaster.

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42 comments
White_Jesus
White_Jesus

one word...

natural selection



lets reopen the ride and call it "immigration reform" . if the filthy beaner can ride the ride without restraints and survive  uninjured , they can stay.

televised 

Threeboys
Threeboys

I know she was a "woman of size" but that doesn't preclude her from expecting some semblance of personal security on a ride that didn't have a size limit.  And the ride builder said early on that there is no "click" when the safety bar is engaged, so she couldn't have heard, or not heard a series of clicks.  According to them, and my experience, it is hydrolic (sp?).

I am a season pass holder and this is my favorite ride in the park precisely because you can get some serious air time on it. 

My prediction is that Six Flags and/or the ride builder pays out a serious number and the ride stays open with a weight limit.  I have seen many comments below about discrimination, but they have height limits.  What's the difference (other than political correctness about "people of size")?

Sotiredofitall
Sotiredofitall topcommenter

A tragedy of circumstances that will likely result in the shutting down of a really fun ride.

David Mills
David Mills

The report I read said she had her hands up in the air. If she was SO worried and paranoid that she was going to fall out, why would she have her hands up in the air?? Something is not right here.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

Why should six flags be hold anymore accountable than the DOJ...If Holder can investigate Holder, then Six flags can investigate six flags

Ambelleina Warwillow
Ambelleina Warwillow

I agree with Matt K 100% percent. If they would have asked her to leave the ride because she's too big for the ride, she would have sued. A LOT of large people are combating their personal obstacles by suing companies citing "discrimination." The truth is, it would have been a shit situation either way. I am a large person and I know what my limitations are. I can ride the rides and the lap bars click down several times as they should so there's no issue, but if I were to get on a rollercoaster where it didn't and there was even a question in my mind about my safety, I'd use my own judgement and get the fuck off the ride. It's really sad it had to happen this way, but I foresee weight/waist size limitations posted in amusement parks in the near future.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz
Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

OOPS and his lackeys were extremely quick to run away from any responsibility in this tragedy, just as they were after failing to inspect safety issues at the West Fertilizer Company.

ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul
ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul topcommenter

This is an instance of manslaughter at minimum and potentially a homicide, plain and simple.  The APD should  be the ones investigating the cause of death.

Vanessa Vaughn
Vanessa Vaughn

Negligence via Ride Operator or Ride Malfunction..either way it's not her fault she slipped and died. HUGE SETTLEMENT is due.

Lyndon M Almond
Lyndon M Almond

Now I'm even more surprised I actually rode this thing in 2012. That first drop is a real doozy. Not ever riding this thing again for sure.

Thomas Ray
Thomas Ray

more like Six Flags over Ghetto...

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

They have to prove that it was the ride that malfunctioned. $20 says that the restraint worked just fine once they tested it.

Blake Wilson
Blake Wilson

ProTip: Never leave your safety or satisfaction up to a minimum wage employee.

Matt Kaplinsky
Matt Kaplinsky

Very true. But the catch 22 is that if they ask adults to not ride for one reason or another, then a lawsuit eventually occurs and the park loses, thus being made to accommodate all. So the responsibility goes back to the person riding to not do something that could be a danger to themselves. It seems....?

Lila Levy
Lila Levy

This is so sad. Prayers for her family.

Blake Snodgrass
Blake Snodgrass

True, but it was the park's responsibility to make sure the T-bar clamped securely and to remove her from the ride if her fat and obesity were a hinderance to the T-bar's function. Sad how most of these Six Flags workers have an "I don't care" attitude when it comes to this stuff. They're basically just collecting paychecks until school starts.

Matt Kaplinsky
Matt Kaplinsky

If you're too big to get on a ride, and don't check your safety belt, harness, bar, etc. on entry, getting thrown off is all on you. It's just physics in action. Too bad we live in such a litigious society...

Nate Miller
Nate Miller

Her last words were Argggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Austin Atterbury
Austin Atterbury

I'm trying not to laugh at such a horrible case of events.

Vanessa Vaughn
Vanessa Vaughn

I really want to know what caused it to malfunction. Can you say HUGE settlement!!!...HUGE!!!

White_Jesus
White_Jesus

@Threeboys pay ? she was illegal. that beast was not legal. she died , so what! shouldn't have been here in the first place. we should be paying six flags  for ridding this great land of that pestilence 

brian.martin
brian.martin

@Matt Kaplinsky i need a doghouse built Kaplinsky..Stat!

dixonwiles
dixonwiles

This is absurd. There are warnings on rides for pregnant women, height restrictions, etc. If this ride had no weight restrictions or, in the alternative, it did but they weren't enforced... that is on Six Flags. It's not the patron's job to know the ride's limits. The pimply faced teenager checking the safety harnesses should have been trained to double check... ESPECIALLY if the patron is obese. What if it was a child too short for the ride... is that on him or Six Flags?

thechuckwilliams
thechuckwilliams

@Vanessa Vaughn The malfunction was twofold. The passenger was easily 300lbs and didnt belong on that thing. And then the minimum wage employee, who obviously didnt have "If you dont fit, you cant sit" as a motto.

thechuckwilliams
thechuckwilliams

@dixonwiles so, personal accountability doesnt exist in your world? Im a big guy. Last time I went to Six Flags, I couldnt quite latch myself in on Mr. Freeze. Kid comes up and STANDS on my restraint, it clicked a couple times, and I rode the ride. I could barely breathe, but I rode it. I havent been back... need to lose a few pounds.

whocareswhatithink
whocareswhatithink

@thechuckwilliams Damned it they do and damned if they don't...if they have a obsess warning...Im sure they will be sued for discrimination...if they don't...better pack your wings with that burger

Oxtail
Oxtail

@thechuckwilliams @dixonwiles I think it is really the Germans' fault. They woefully underestimated how fat Americans were when they designed and manufactured the ride.

dixonwiles
dixonwiles

Personal responsibility is an important part of life, Chuck... but it has nothing to do with why this woman was allowed to ride the ride. Are you saying Six Flags has zero responsibility to make sure patrons got in the rides and harnesses? That that is the responsibility of the customer? That's silly... and the kid who stood on the harness for you should be fired. You were too fat for that ride and he should have kicked you off... same as what should have happened the other day. If the ride operators cleared her to ride when it was unsafe, that is on them... they are the ride experts in the situation. I imagine her lawyers would love to talk to you about your situation on Mr. Freeze... sounds like a pattern of indifference to me.

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