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Witnesses say Texas roller coaster victim worried about safety bar

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By The Associated Press
Sunday, July 21, 2013, 10:12 p.m.
 

ARLINGTON, Texas — A German roller coaster maker is sending officials to a North Texas amusement park to inspect a ride where a woman fell to her death.

Tobias Lindnar, a project manager for Gerstlauer Amusement Rides in Munsterhausen, Germany, told The Dallas Morning News that the company will investigate what led to Friday's fatal accident at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.

Witnesses said the woman expressed concern about the Texas Giant roller coaster's safety bar not completely engaging as the ride was starting. The coaster is touted as the tallest steel-hybrid roller coaster in the world.

“I'm sure there's no safety bar that is broken,” Lindnar told the newspaper by phone Saturday night from Germany.

Lindnar said Gerstlauer has never had problems with car safety bars on any of the roughly 50 roller coasters it has built around the world in the past 30 years.

“We will be on site, and we will see what has happened,” he said.

Park spokeswoman Sharon Parker confirmed in a statement on Saturday that the victim died while riding the 14-story Texas Giant, but wouldn't give specifics about what happened.

CBS affiliate KTVT in Dallas identified the woman as Rosy Esparza and reported that it was her first time visiting the popular theme park.

Lindnar wouldn't address the hydraulic bar's operation or whether park employees should be able to determine if a person's body is too close to the front of the train car to prevent the bar from being effective.

“We are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident and will utilize every resource throughout this process,” Parker said in her statement. “It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired.”

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