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Six Flags America Says Safety is the Priority

Park patrons notice heightened adherence to safety on roller coasters following a recent death at a Texas Six Flags.

Video credit: Kirsten Petersen
Video credit: Kirsten Petersen
By Kirsten Petersen

In light of the recent fatality that occurred on the Six Flags Texas Giant roller coaster, Six Flags theme parks across the country, including Six Flags America in Upper Marlboro, are reminding patrons of their commitment to safety.

Park patron Rosy Esparza, 52, died after falling 75 feet from the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington last Friday.

A statement from the Six Flags national office emphasized the parks’ diligent inspection of rides.

“We invest the greatest amount of resources in our safety and maintenance programs,” the statement said. “In addition to our daily inspections, all of our rides are inspected at least annually by a third party independent ride consulting firm, by state ride inspectors, by insurance inspectors, by Corporate Engineers and by Corporate Safety experts.”

Havilah Ross, a spokeswoman for Six Flags America, said that the park’s priority is the safety of its guests.

Preston Carter of Annapolis and his friends noticed that the Six Flags employees took greater precautions when operating the rides and preparing riders for roller coasters.

"I think they stepped up their game a little so that they can still have tourists come in and feel safe. It was pretty good today,” Carter said.

Kayla Hertz of Millersville agreed.

"They made sure everyone was locked in. I think the roller coasters went slower than usual," she said.

Some park patrons, like Christy Makanjuola of Baltimore, do not feel safe riding the roller coasters but still visit Six Flags America because they had purchased tickets in advance.

"I already got season passes. Other than that I wouldn't be here at all,” Makanjuola said. “I won't be on the roller coasters. We'll just have fun on other rides.”

Approximately 405 injuries in the United States in 2011 resulted from riding roller coasters, accounting for 28.6 percent of all amusement park injuries, according to the most recent study from the National Safety Council. This total represents a decrease from the year before when 35.9 percent of injuries were due to riding roller coasters.

The percent of ride-related injuries in 2011 that were serious—those requiring immediate attention by a hospital—was only 4.3 percent, one of the lowest amounts in recent years.

John Perez of Ellicott City didn’t let the potential of an accident stop him and his family from visiting Six Flags America earlier this week.

"I feel like it's safe, but accidents can happen. What happens at one place doesn't necessarily happen at another,” he said.

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