Six Flags victim hit beam, landed on roof of tunnel

Posted Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Dallas woman who fell out of the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flag Over Texas Friday evening first hit a metal support beam and then landed on the metal roof of a tunnel about 75 feet below, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.

Rosa Irene Ayala-Gaona, 52, who also went by the last name of Esparza, was seated in the third row of a car and fell as the car began a steep descent from the first large hill of tracks, according to a report released Tuesday.

An autopsy found extensive trauma to her torso. The cause of death was attributed to multiple traumatic injuries because of the fall. The medical examiner will not rule on the manner of death until more investigation and laboratory studies are complete, a news release stated.

Ayala-Gaona was at the Arlington park with family members. Previous media reports have said witnesses heard her express concern about being safely secured in the seat.

Officials of Six Flags have declined to answer questions from the Star-Telegram on Monday, including whether Esparza was alone in the car.

Arlington police and fire officials had said they were not investigating the incident. But on Tuesday, Sgt. Christopher Cook, a police spokesman, said the department is “conducting a death investigation.”

Nothing “points to foul play,” he said in an email.

On Monday, Jim Reid-Anderson, CEO of Six Flags Entertainment Corp., parent company of the Arlington park, said the Texas Giant “will remain closed until we are certain it is safe to ride.”

Also, Monday, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., called for national safety standards for amusement park rides.

Amusement park guests are assuming a huge risk because of the lack of federal regulations, Markey said. Enough accidents have occurred to warrant federal intervention, he said.

“We need to close this ‘roller coaster loophole’ and ensure federal authorities can investigate these accidents and order necessary safety improvements,” Markey said in a statement.

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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