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Six Flags Over Texas denies liability for woman's death

Tuesday, 8 Oct 2013 | 11:02 AM ET
Six Flags has reopened the Texas Giant roller coaster for the first time since a rider fell 75 feet to her death.
AP
Six Flags has reopened the Texas Giant roller coaster for the first time since a rider fell 75 feet to her death.

A Six Flags amusement park in Arlington, Texas, says it did everything it could to prevent the death of a woman who fell from a roller coaster called the Texas Giant.

The park, Six Flags Over Texas, and its corporate parent, are being sued by the family of the victim for just over a million dollars, according to the Fort Worth (Texas) Star Telegram. The suit claims the ride's malfunctioning safety system ultimately caused 52-year-old Rosa Esparza to fall out of the car in the middle of the ride on her first trip to the park.

Esparza's family claims inspections after the accident found problems with the ride's "T-bar" safety restraint as well as the green light system that is supposed to hold the roller coaster in place until every passenger is safely locked in place.

The ride ascends 14 stories—the highest in the world for a wooden roller coaster—before dropping at a 79-degree angle. It debuted in 1990, but was closed for a two-year, $10 million renovation in 2009.

Six Flags says the German-made roller coaster had been inspected "just a few months" before the accident and that it met both manufacturer and government requirements and that it should not be liable for Esparza's death.

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The roller-coaster indicator
The theme park business is mostly on the upswing. Disney is scaling back its capital spending on parks for now, while Comcast's Universal Studios is doubling down, reports CNBC's Jane Wells.