ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — A German roller coaster maker is sending officials to a U.S. amusement park to inspect a ride after a woman fell to her death.
Tobias Lindnar, a project manager for Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, told The Dallas Morning News that the company will investigate what led to Friday's fatal accident at Six Flags Over Texas. Witnesses said the woman expressed concern about the Texas Giant roller coaster's safety bar not completely engaging as the ride was starting. The coaster is touted as the tallest steel-hybrid roller coaster in the world.
"I'm sure there's no safety bar that is broken," Lindnar told the newspaper by phone Saturday night from Germany. Lindnar said Gerstlauer has never had problems with car safety bars on any of the roughly 50 roller coasters it's built around the world over the past 30 years.
"We will be on site, and we will see what has happened," he said. Park spokeswoman Sharon Parker confirmed in a statement Saturday that the victim died while riding the 14-story Texas Giant, but she wouldn't give specifics about what happened.
Arlington police have referred information about the woman's identity to the medical examiner's office in Tarrant County, which didn't respond to phone messages left by The Associated Press. Lindnar wouldn't address the hydraulic bar's operation.
"At this time I don't want to speak about the technicals," he said. "It's not so easy. It's some special equipment." But he said once the ride began, there was no chance of opening the safety bar. Texas Department of Insurance spokesman Jerry Hagins told the AP on Sunday that Six Flags was in compliance with state regulations requiring proof of an annual safety inspection by a certified engineer.
Six Flags received a state-issued sticker for the Texas Giant in February. Hagins said the ride will remain closed until it's inspected again and certified to be safe. Because no foul play is suspected, police are not involved in the investigation, officials said.
The ride first opened in 1990 as an all-wooden coaster and underwent a $10 million renovation to install steel-hybrid rails and reopened in 2011. It can carry up to 24 people.