If you go to an amusement park with a friend or family member who is afraid of heights, chances are very good that you will have to spend some time persuading them to climb aboard a roller coaster or other thrill ride with you. Perhaps you tell them how fun the ride will be or how they will be the only member of the group not going. Alternatively, you may argue that the ride is regularly inspected and perfectly safe for all riders.
As it turns out, this argument may no longer be quite so persuasive following a truly horrific amusement park accident here in the southern United States.
The accident in question occurred last Friday evening on a towering roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.
According to reports, a woman boarded The Texas Giant coaster with her young son, and was later thrown from the ride as it was barreling its way through one of many dizzying peaks and turns.
"It was just shocking to me," said one park visitor. "I never knew that someone can die at an amusement park. I always thought that they do have safety precautions and they do check everybody, so I didn't know that this could happen."
Emergency personnel were summoned to the scene immediately after the accident and The Texas Giant has since been shut down pending the outcome of an investigation lead by the Arlington Fire Department.
As if all of this isn't shocking enough, witnesses are indicating that the woman expressed concerns about the security of her lap bar to ride operators just prior to the fatal accident, and that it appeared as if the bar simply came loose or broke.
The Texas Giant, dubbed the tallest steel-hybrid rollercoaster in the world, has seen 14 injury reports since over the last five years, the majority of which were for minor personal injuries.
It's important to understand that property owners -- including amusement parks -- have a duty to keep their property reasonably safe for all patrons, and can be held liable when their negligence results in a serious or fatal accident.
Stay tuned for updates …
Source: CBS News, "Woman killed on Six Flags Texas roller coaster identified," July 21, 2013