General chatter - 6 flags roller coaster death




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Vex
07-23-2013, 10:56 PM
I'm surprised to not see a discussion about this on here, so allow me to begin one.

I'm talking about the tragic story of the lady who fell from the roller coaster at 6 flags in texas. If you have not seen the news story, it can be found here:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/flags-texas-witnesses-shocked-roller-coaster-death/story?id=19721888

Some people are blaming her weight for causing the bar not to be entirely secure. If I had to GUESS from the picture of her I saw, I'd say she was in her upper 200s/300s. While the jury is still out on whether or not it was a mechanical malfunction, it does bring up a point....have you ever been scared to ride anything due to your weight once you were on it?

I remember one time, can't remember the park, where I was in a coaster with a shoulder harness at my highest weight. Technically I still fit in the seat, but there was a LOT of room under my bar. It obviously wasn't closing as much as the smaller people around me. I probably could have easily fallen out. Why didn't I say anything? Would you have?

I guess the same can be said for kids. They have a lot more free space under those bars then adults do. Are they really safe enough?

I guess it's just really on my mind because I have a trip to an amusement park in 2 weeks that I'm over analyzing and obsessing about now - especially with a child. I guess I could just not go on some things, but is avoidance going too far?


NJChick78
07-23-2013, 11:10 PM
This is so sad and tragic. Her family must be truly hurt.

Yes, I will not go on those rides, though I would LOVE to!

Aclai4067
07-23-2013, 11:25 PM
have you ever been scared to ride anything due to your weight once you were on it?


The last time I was at six flags in Atlanta I had concerns about this. On one of the coasters (I don't recall which, the kind where the bars come over your shoulders) I got it to come down until it just clicked once. I couldn't lift if back up, but it didn't feel secure at all! I got the attention of the ride operator, thinking I would just need to have him unlock it and get off. But instead he just shoved it down a few more clicks. I wasn't sure I could breathe anymore, but it definitely felt secure.

Unfortunately, I could imagine someone being too self-conscious to alert the operator and thinking, "if I can't lift it back up, it must be locked in okay."


TooWicky
07-24-2013, 12:00 AM
I have been following this story closely on roller coaster enthusiast forums, believe it or not. This ride had a hydraulic restraint system, so no clicks when you push it down, regardless of what that eyewitness said. It really has a minimalist looking restraint - simply a t bar that seats in the lap. No seatbelts, no shoulder harness. I looked up a picture of the Texas Giant car to see for myself. It was reported that the t bar was still in the down position when the car return to the station. The lap bar has two cylinders, each capable of holding down 10,000 lbs, with the second cylinder being a back-up in case the first one fails.

They hypothesize that it was her shape rather than her weight which may have been an issue, but of course the investigation is still ongoing. The lap bar may have been pushed as far down as possible even with the attendant's help, which could theoretically have been on her stomach rather that in her lap crease on top of her thighs. Because it was resting firmly on something, the automated "green light" gave the go ahead for the operators to send out the roller coaster car. The forces during the ride can feasibly jostle around stomach fat. They think it did, and basically freed up her stomach area out from under the restraint. The t bar was no longer resting firmly on anything, and they theorize she toppled out, especially since she might have carried the majority of her weight from the waist up (not confirmed.)

One comment on one of the coaster message boards really struck haunted me. It said that roller coasters of today are not the ones of yore. If you are thrown from today's coasters, there is little chance of survival - the forces and twists and turns are so tremendous, etc., so safety is paramount.

Can engineers design for the apple shape silhouette? I'm so disturbed by the fact that the green light system for this ride said everyone was locked in, and then this happened. Because I share a similar shape, I eagerly await the results of the investigation. I'd like to go to Walt Disney World next summer, but only if I have slimmed down. I haven't gone on any amusement park rides in many years, so I don't have experience trying to fit into a seat as a larger person.

pnkrckpixikat
07-24-2013, 02:51 PM
They hypothesize that it was her shape rather than her weight which may have been an issue, but of course the investigation is still ongoing. The lap bar may have been pushed as far down as possible even with the attendant's help, which could theoretically have been on her stomach rather that in her lap crease on top of her thighs. Because it was resting firmly on something, the automated "green light" gave the go ahead for the operators to send out the roller coaster car. The forces during the ride can feasibly jostle around stomach fat. They think it did, and basically freed up her stomach area out from under the restraint. The t bar was no longer resting firmly on anything, and they theorize she toppled out, especially since she might have carried the majority of her weight from the waist up (not confirmed.)


This sounds super likely to me.

I don't ride roller coasters because they make me ill, but I ride rides that spin or flip and at my highest I didn't ride because I was scared they would tell me I was too fat. From now on I may make it a point to adjust my chub so the harness can sit in the proper place :s

thnknthin1
07-24-2013, 04:28 PM
My kids are going to an amusement park next week (without me) and ever since this story aired I have been absolutely paranoid about them going. I worry because they are all thin and now I worry about them flying out of the bars.

Unfortunately, I am unable to stop them from going since I am not the one taking them.

I do not want to scare them from not going, I just want them to be safe.

AwShucks
07-25-2013, 12:16 AM
This is indeed a sad story. And, I wanted to bring it up here, too. Thanks OP for starting the thread. The article that I read said the ride design industry admits that coasters are made for "average size" bodies, and that the increasing size of Americans is an issue. Some parks have sample seats to try out front of the ride, but not all. It would never occur to me that I could be hurt on a roller coaster. But, I'm not sure I'd ride one again.

TooWicky, your hypothesis sounds plausible. The photo I saw of the lady looks as if she is apple shaped, and thus would have probably had slim hips and legs. The article also mentioned that amputees are disallowed from riding sometimes -- they must have at least 1 hand and 1 leg to ride. I never thought of that!

Of course, there were some very nasty comments about size in general below the article I read. That's what really makes me sad. As if somehow this was her fault... and the fault of all of overweight America. Ugh!

TooWicky
01-03-2014, 01:43 PM
If anyone is still interested in an update on the investigation into this tragedy, I thought I would post a link to a recent news story and also the police report released in November. Read with caution - injury details are disturbing. It should be noted that Six Flags investigated itself and found itself not liable.

Personally, I was shocked at what I read. Per my previous post on this thread, I surmised the investigation would reveal that a certain obese body frame type would not be restrained well in very rare circumstances with currently designed safety bars with no lap belt restraint. This was not what the police report says.

Highlights:

Ride operator said safety bar seemed high on passenger's thigh, but since the sensor on the board said it was "locked," the coaster was dispatched to go.

Ride operator told police investigators that he had seen trouble with the sensor light on that same car within the last week.

Ride operator said that repair technicians had been called out to address problems with the sensor board for that particular train within the three days prior to the accident.

Ride operator noticed when the coaster returned (and after passenger had fallen out,) the safety bar was higher than at departure.

Several other passengers in the coaster heard a popping sound on descent when passenger was ejected.

Police received a video from some teenagers who rode that exact coaster and sat in that exact car several weeks before this accident. Their recording shows that at the 16 second mark, there is an audible "POP," followed by yelling to stop the coaster. Ride operator announcements can then be heard saying that car 3 was unlocked and to recheck.

Arlington police report details woman's death after fall from Texas Giant
http://www.wfaa.com/news/local/tarrant/Six-Flags-accident-investigation-231068981.html

EagleRiverDee
01-03-2014, 03:05 PM
That was such a sad event. :(

delmarva
01-03-2014, 04:47 PM
Kings Dominion has a rating system of 1 to 5 stars, if memory serves. 5 is the "most adventurous". I stay at 3 and less.

I find that I lose blood from my head and faint. Also, the chest compression on some of these rides is SCARY.