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Coaster Safety Questioned After Fatality

Coaster Safety Questioned After Fatality

New details about the Six Flags roller coaster where a woman died last week has some people questioning the safety of other Texas coasters.

At least 14 injuries were tied to the park's Texas Giant over the past five years. Now the similar Iron Rattler in San Antonio is shut down as a precaution.

Still, experts insist park goers have little to worry about.

“I think this is only the 13th or 14th fatality we've had on an amusement ride in the state of Texas in over 30 years,” ride inspector Bill Hoggard tells KTRH News.

Hoggard says major coasters are checked daily by engineers, if not every few hours.  He believes last week's tragedy likely was the result of a combination of problems.

“I understand that she was fairly large, it could have been the operator's fault for letting her on, it could have been a malfunction of the lap bar,” he says.

The Texas Department of Insurance regulates coaster safety, but only from a distance according to spokesman Jerry Hagins.

“Every ride is required to have two things:  a $1 million dollar liability policy for bodily injury, and a yearly safety inspection,” he says.

Of the 270 million people who visit amusement parks each year in the U.S., roughly 7,000 are treated for injuries at emergency rooms.

Hoggard says most injuries are caused by the passengers themselves, by either fooling around and not following instructions, or riding a coaster knowing they have a preexisting condition.

 

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