Injuries and accidents are possible in amusement parks. This article will cover some of the most prominent accidents at Six Flags in Texas.
Amusement parks offer much more than what the name lets on, people seeking to be gripped by the thrill and lose themselves to all the excitement around them flock to such places, buzzing with energy. However, theme parks such as Six Flags Over Texas which house some of the most iconic attractions in the state such as The Gunslinger, Roaring Rapids, and The New Texas Giant, have much darker secrets than what they let on. Not technically secrets, but this is information that people either choose to ignore for the sake of fun or don't bother exploring in the first place.
We are referring to the many stories of accidents and incidents which oftentimes resulted in wrongful deaths of people. Amusement park accidents don't necessarily have to be due to the negligence of the park officials, but can also stem due to product defects. In either case, there is negligence on part of someone else leading to injury or other damages for the victims. This cannot stand, and there is no reason for you to stand by and be violated in this manner.
You have every right to seek financial compensation for any injury or other damage sustained because of the recklessness or indifference of the responsible party. For this, however, preparing a strong legal action plan and covering all aspects of the case thoroughly, ensuring that there is no room for error, should be a priority. If you or a loved one were hurt due to the negligence of the park authorities or the manufacturer of the ride, then waste no time to contact a Dallas personal injury attorney at the Glenn Law Firm and seek justice against the violation of your right to safety.
Is the threat really that widespread, you may ask?
Well, after reading through some of the most gripping cases of deaths and accidents at Six Flags Over Texas, you'd see that amusement parks don't offer foolproof safety.
Major Accidents At Six Flags Over Texas
Note that this is not a record or a comprehensive list of accidents in Six Flags Over Texas, and is not meant to catalog such events either.
Instead, we've only picked up some of the most mention-worthy events that resulted due to negligence on part of the staff, disregard of safety rules set by the park, negligence on ride attendant, ride vehicle malfunction, using an unauthorized riding position, health issues faced by the visitors (congenital heart condition, cerebral palsy, or an otherwise un-stable condition), or as a product of probability, i.e. random accidents even without deliberate intent.
Here are our picks:
#1) The Roaring Rapids Accident, 1999
On March 21, 1999, there was a deadly accident in the roaring rapids (like a wave pool) where a raft was overturned due to some defects in the design of the raft/ride. After tipping over, the raft got caught in 2-3 feet of water, with an underwater pipe, trapping the passengers of the raft.
A 28-year-old woman, Valeria Cartwright, perished in this accident while 10 more visitors faced severe injuries. The actual cause of this overturning was found out to be the instant deflation in the air chambers of the body (manufacturing defect possibly), which left the raft without proper support and thus overturned it in the water.
Followed by the accident, the survivors of the victim filed a compensation lawsuit against the Six Flags amusement park where the company agreed to compensate the victims. Plus, the park also joined hands with the victims and jointly sued the manufacturer of the said raft.
#2) The Texas Tornado Incident, 2006
The Texas Tornado ride, while operating on March 12, 2006, came to an abrupt, unexpected halt, crashing several swing seats together due to inertia. This incident resulted in several cases of back pain and minor injuries, in ten individuals to be exact, most of whom were taken to see a medical examiner/medical staff immediately afterward.
Some, whose injuries were only minor, were treated at the spot.
The manufacturing flaw turned out to be due to the negligence of Chance Rides Manufacturing (85 Yo-Yo Rides) who then recalled all such rides to promptly fix the design flaw. Though the injuries, in this case, were only minor, things could've been worse if the flaw had been more serious.
#3) Poltergeist Rollercoaster Accidents, 2007, 2010 & 2021
The infamous Poltergeist rollercoaster ride in Six Flags Over Texas has been central to at least three incidents between 2007 and 2021.
The first such incident involved a 14-year-old girl, who, on June 12, 2007, while riding the rollercoaster, fell from the gap in between the cars, from 10 feet above the ground, and hit the concrete floor underneath. The 14-year-old girl had probably fainted due to the intense heat, and following the accident, was paralyzed.
The second incident, on August 28, 2010, was not fatal, but the rollercoaster malfunctioned, and two orders were stuck on it for straight 2 hours.
The third incident, almost a decade later on May 29, 2021, was also non-fatal, but again involved a malfunction of the ride. This again trapped the riders, 20 this time, on board. However, the emergency personnel from the San Antonio Fire Department came to act promptly and helped with the safe evacuation of all trapped. The ride was then scrutinized for issues to be fixed.
#4) The New Texas Giant Rollercoaster Accident, 2013
Perhaps the most infamous or horrifying of all incidents (a fatal accident) took place on July 19, 2013 (as reported by ABC News), and involved the New Texas Giant, a local attraction. Coming from Dallas, Texas, a 52-year old woman was one of the many riders of this rollercoaster, however, before the ride was initiated, she did express concern about not being properly restrained.
The park staff ride operators reassured her that the coaster seat safety restraint bar was perfectly locked in position, and many eyewitnesses noted the same in its original position when the ride had ended. However, amid the ride, as the roller coaster took a swift turn on the tracks, the woman was thrown off her seat, and fell to her death several feet underneath, on top of a metallic tunnel roof for another roller coaster situated close to the Music Mill Amphitheater.
The event sparked speculation and doubt about the general safety of this ride and another one that had a similar design, the Iron Rattler. Some eyewitnesses claimed that they had seen the restraint get undone amid the ride. An investigation was initiated almost immediately, and both the Texas New Giant and the Iron Rattler were shut down for the time being.
The manufacturer of the ride, Gerstlauer, a German company, also became a party to the investigation but maintained firmly that their restraint system could not have possibly opened up while the ride was operating. However, during this investigation period, certain changes were made to both rides to ensure better safety of the riders in the future.
These additions included:
- A completely redesigned seat restraint/safety bar
- Seat belts added in addition to these bars
- A test seat was introduced to allow visitors to assess whether they can ride the roller coaster
First the Iron Rattler, on August 14, 2013, and the Texas New Giant, on September 14, 2013, was reopened for the public. A park spokesperson, on behalf of the park CEO Jim Reid-Anderson, also issued a public statement, after their joint report, expressing the conclusion of their investigation efforts and reassuring the park visitors that all safety measures had been radically enhanced for the general well-being of all riders and to avoid future accidents.
Damages Suffered By Victims of Accidents at Six Flags
Apart from these gripping critical condition generic accident on attendance events which bring company performance under question, there are other events where the only company responsible was one to be had in the park - the people. Guest altercations have also been newsworthy for amusement parks (improper photography via cell phones), but that is a story for another day.
This article detailed only incidents that could've been avoided through better implementation of maintenance safety instructions.
Such incidents have resulted in people being rushed to the hospital with life-altering injuries, critical head injuries, brain injuries, common injuries on the surface level, knee injuries, leg injuries, blunt-force internal injuries, major injuries to muscles, broken bones, upper torso injuries, and so on. Even less severe injuries necessitate a nearby hospital visit (i.e. Arlington Memorial Hospital, Freehold Area Hospital, Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, etc.).
Age Distribution of Victims
As for the age distribution, victims, so far, have been of all ages; we hear stories coming in about a 19-year-old woman, a 29-year-old woman, a 41-year-old woman, and a 46-year-old woman, all of whom faced serious injuries and even deaths in some cases due to amusement park accidents.
A similar fate was met by a 19-year-old man, a 20-year-old man, a 37-year-old man, a 45-year-old male, and a 67-year-old employee.
Much worse than a case involving an adult woman or man could be something like what happened to a 4-year-old girl, 6-year-old girl, 10-year-old girl, 11-year-old girl, 12-year-old girl, 16-year-old girl, nine-year-old boy, an 11-year-old boy, and a 14-year-old boy.
All of these victims faced injuries either due to safety violations on part of the park or due to the lack of additional safety features.
Let The Glenn Law Firm Help
Despite all-time-high guest satisfaction ratings and financial performance, life-threatening injuries at amusement parks are more common than most people realize. But it is only normal for people to push such amusement park ride stories under the rug and just focus on having a good time. Roller coaster accidents (involving a roller coaster train like the New Texas Giant) are an ever-present threat, and their mention is quite regular on Dallas Morning News.
In modern times, the management framework of fixed-ride amusement parks lays greater emphasis on safety, but even so, accidents can happen due to negligence on part of the park employees, inherent safety flaws in the rides, operator error, animal attacks, lift shaft malfunction, defective emergency brakes, lag in reaction time, or a complete disregard of the park rules on part of the visitors. This article was aimed at showing that accident cases do happen and have occurred not just once but repeatedly.
Just know that you are not alone in this difficult time!
Our theme park liability attorneys believe in giving everyone the level of personal attention they deserve, and we offer a free initial consultation, allowing you to share your experience freely with us. After hearing out your story, we'll highlight the key points of your case upon which we will build the case. Then, you can leave the rest to us – we will take care of the case for you and offer representation at all stages of the process but keep you in the loop of everything.
We're willing to help you in all capacities, and will represent your case at all stages with the utmost professionalism and with uncompromising enthusiasm towards your goals, i.e. fair financial compensation. Reach out to us at your earliest convenience, and when you do so, you'll see just how committed we are to serving the best interests of all of our clients.