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When thrillseekers walk into an amusement park, they often wonder which of the rides there are the scariest. In the case of Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, the answers would be The New Texas Giant, Roaring Rapids, and The Gunslinger. That’s because those three rides have all led to the serious injury or even death of riders in the past. While the park owners may fix the rides – and sometimes even change the names of the rides – the dangerous history of the rides remains.
The Texas Tornado Collision
“Yo-Yo” rides (also known as swing rides) can be found at many theme parks. These rides have several swing-like seats that are spun around until the riders are nearly vertical, each rider suspended several feet from the ground. While the ride is in operation, the riders trust their lives to the laws of momentum and the integrity of the ride.
On March 12, 2006, ten riders were hurt on one of these Yo-Yo rides at Six Flags Over Texas. The ride known as Texas Tornado experienced failure when two lock nuts loosened inside the ride’s mechanism. This led to the ride stopping abruptly, which caused several swings to collide with each other. Five of the occupants were sent to the hospital. Eventually, the ride was recalled, but that didn’t happen until 2008 after a similar incident occurred.
Chance Rides – the manufacturers of Texas Tornado – produced several similar Yo-Yo rides, one of which operated at the California county fair. In 2008, several passengers were injured when the California county fair Yo-Yo ride suddenly crashed to the ground. It was only after this incident that Chance Rides discovered a common flaw existed in all of their Yo-Yo rides, and they recalled all 85 of their rides currently in use. For the two years between the Texas Tornado incident and the California county fair incident, the Texas Tornado continued to operate.
In later years, Texas Tornado was renamed The Gunslinger.
The Roaring Rapids Drowning
Six Flags Over Texas was the first Six Flags park ever opened, and the park enjoyed a long streak of years without any major accidents after its opening in 1961. However, that streak came to an abrupt halt in 1999.
To most people, the idea that a few feet of water could prove dangerous to a sober and conscious person would seem ludicrous. Unfortunately, an incident on March 21, 1999 proved that a lack of proper safety precautions can turn just about any situation deadly. On that date, one of the Roaring Rapids rafts experienced partial deflation, thus forcing its passengers into the water and flipping the raft. The raft then caught on a poorly placed underwater pipe, which caused the raft to get stuck and trap 11 passengers underneath. The weight of the raft made it hard for the passengers to escape their unfortunate position. By the time that they managed to free themselves, 10 of the passengers had sustained injuries and one unfortunate woman (Valeria Cartwright) had drowned to death.
Six Flags Inc. paid a settlement to those injured by the ride, with plans to bring a lawsuit against Canyon Manufacturing (the producers of the raft) as a result of the faulty ride.
The Fall from The Texas Giant
Probably the most well-known Six Flags Over Texas incident is the death that occurred on The Texas Giant in 2013. On July 19 of that year, a woman fell to her death after her restraints failed to properly secure into place. This resulted in her being flung from the ride as the roller coaster rounded a corner, and she then fell 75 feet from the coaster, dying upon impact.
After the incident, The Texas Giant was closed for a couple months as the incident was investigated and modifications were made to the coaster. The ride lost its status as the last remaining all-wooden roller coaster as metal supports were added to make the ride safer. Modifications were also made to the safety restraints, and seatbelts were added to further prevent future accidents from occurring. The ride was then reopened with the name The New Texas Giant.
Both Six Flags and the ride’s producer Gerstlauer were sued for causing the wrongful death of the rider Rosa Esparza.
If you’ve been injured in an amusement park accident at Six Flags or another theme park, contact Hernandez Law Group, P.C. The personal injury attorneys at Hernandez Law Group have experience litigating cases involving injuries at amusement parks and will make sure that you receive the compensation you deserve. With certification from the State Bar of Texas to practice personal injury law (a certification that only 2% of attorneys in Texas have), Juan Hernandez will litigate your case properly and help you receive justice for the injuries you’ve endured.