Woman Riding Six Flags Over Texas Roller Coaster Dies

Witnesses tell NBC 5 DFW woman fell from Texas Giant

Six Flags Over Texas theme park in Arlington confirmed that a woman died while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster on Friday. Police records show that the incident occurred just after 6:30 p.m.

On Saturday, family members identified the victim as Rosy Esparza.  She, her husband and children lived at a home in Dallas. EDITOR'S NOTE: On July 22, the Tarrant County Medical Examiner identified the victim as Rosa Ayala-Goana.

Neighbors said the woman was the best neighbor you could ask for.

"The most interaction I got out of her is when I mowed the grass, she'd come out and bring me Coke, tea, iced water," said neighbor Alfred Cannon. "Whatever she had, she'd bring it out and give it to me while I mow the grass... real sweet woman."

Park visitors told NBC 5 that they saw a woman fall from the roller coaster. Witnesses said workers on the ride directed paramedics to the victim's location.

According to a witness, children were yelling "we have to get my mom" when the roller coaster car pulled up at the end of the ride. Riders were hysterical and crying.

Witnesses said workers checked the restraints on the car after the accident.

People waiting in line for the roller coaster said park employees asked them to get out of line after the accident.

Park visitors also told NBC 5 that the Titan roller coaster had been closed for a safety inspection. Workers could be seen on the roller coaster track.

On Saturday morning the park released a statement:

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family.  The investigation into the death at Texas Giant is still ongoing.  We are working closely with authorities to determine the cause of the accident.  The ride will remain closed.  In addition, we have canceled the concert that was scheduled for today.

On Friday night, Six Flags Over Texas tweeted that the section of the park with the Texas Giant had been temporarily closed. The park also said it was "deeply saddened" about the woman's death.

Earlier Friday, the theme park released this statement regarding the death:

We are deeply saddened to share that earlier this evening an adult woman died in the park while on the Texas Giant. Park medical staff and local paramedics responded immediately. Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, the ride has been closed pending further investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time.

The park later tweeted:

Word of the accident quickly spread, with many learning on social media. One mother rushed to Six Flags to pick up her son when she heard about the death.

"I was sick to my stomach with anxiety," Leslye Barnes.

Six Flags Over Texas completed a major overhaul of the Texas Giant two years ago. The $10 million renovation added a steel track to the wooden roller coaster and made the ride higher and faster.

The roller coaster, which opened in 1990, reaches 14 stories high and has a drop of 79 degrees. It can carry up to 24 riders.

A 28-year-old woman died and 10 other people were injured on the Roaring Rapids ride at Six Flags Over Texas in 1999 when their raft overturned in two to three feet of water. The woman was trapped in the ride and drowned.

NBC 5 DFW's Omar Villafranca and Julie Fine contributed to this report.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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