Six Flags Over Texas statement regarding the Arlington Police Department’s investigation report

By | November 13, 2013

SFOT08_H_FCWe continue to extend our deepest condolences to the Esparza family. This was a tragic accident that deeply affected our employees, especially since safety is our highest priority and at the heart of everything we do.

The Texas Giant re-opened in September after external and internal experts determined the coaster was safe to ride and that the accident was not caused by any mechanical failure. We added incremental and overlapping safety measures to the ride including re-designed lap-bar restraint pads and seat belts. We also added a test seat at the ride-line entrance so guests can determine if they properly fit in the restraint system. The Texas Giant continues to be a guest favorite.

Since the safety of our guests and employees is our number one priority, we invest the greatest amount of our resources into our safety and maintenance programs.

In addition to our daily maintenance inspections, all of our rides are inspected at least annually by corporate engineers, corporate safety personnel and third-party experts. All of our ride operations meet or exceed manufacturer and ASTM standards.

Below are some facts about the Texas Giant restraint system that we believe you will find helpful:

  • The restraint system on the Texas Giant is a hydraulic system and makes no clicking noise. It is run by a highly-sophisticated, computerized system.
  • Once in a locked position, the lap bar restraint cannot open unless released by the ride operator who controls the computerized system, and the restraint will only open while the train is in the loading station where there is power.
  • The lap bar restraint cannot move from its original locked position during the ride since there is no source of power, and during the investigation, multiple external and internal experts determined the restraint did not release or move on the day of the accident.
  • It is common for the ride operator to release the restraints in the loading station so guests can momentarily exit (to store personal belongings, etc.) or to put something in their pocket. The system is not designed to release one seat at a time, so if one seat is released, multiple restraint bars are released at the same time. After any release, all restraints are checked again by the ride loaders and by the ride operator at the control station before the train can leave the station. An example of this was evidenced in the video sent by one of our guests to the police department.
  • The ride’s operating system will not allow the ride operator to release the train from the loading station unless every lap bar is in a locked position.
  • The indicator lights next to the seats on the train are not part of the safety system, but exist solely for the convenience of the ride loaders. The lights at the control panel are the only lights used by the ride operator and the computerized operating system to assure all seat restraints are depressed and locked in place prior to the train leaving the station.

Our hearts remain heavy about this accident and our sincerest condolences go out to Ms. Esparza’s family.

Accidents in this industry are extremely rare and we safely provide 26 million guests with approximately 200 million rides every year. Nearly 25 million people have ridden the Texas Giant since it opened.

Safety is the foundation of our brand and we have every incentive from a reputational, moral and financial perspective to ensure our parks remain as safe as they possibly can be.

Sharon Parker
Communications Manager
Six Flags Over Texas