Natalie DiBlasio, USA TODAY
Investigators were trying to determine Saturday how a woman fell to her death from the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world Friday night at Six Flags Over Texas.
The accident happened just after 6:30 p.m. CT on Friday at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington. Park spokeswoman Sharon Parker confirmed that a woman died while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster but did not specify how she was killed. However, witnesses told local media outlets that the woman fell.
John Putman told the Star-Telegram in Fort Worth that he was in line awaiting his turn on the ride when the car from which the woman fell returned to the ground. Putman said a man and woman got out.
"They were screaming, 'My mom! My mom! Let us out, we need to go get her!' " Putman said.
Carmen Brown of Arlington was waiting in line as the victim was being secured in for the ride. She told The Dallas Morning News the woman had expressed concern to a park employee that she was not secured correctly in her seat.
"He was basically nonchalant," Brown said. "He was, like, 'As long as you heard it click, you're fine.' Hers was the only one that went down once, and she didn't feel safe. But they let her still get on the ride."
She said the victim fell out of the ride as it made a sudden maneuver.
"The lady basically tumbled over," she said. "We heard her screaming. We were, like, 'Did she just fall?'"
Hysterical passengers had to wait to disembark as the train stopped short of the platform, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Although the ride was closed, the park remained open through the evening.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends during this difficult time," a Six Flags statement said.
The Texas Giant reaches 14 stories high and has a drop of 79 degrees and a bank of 95 degrees. It can carry up to 24 riders. The ride first opened in 1990 as an all-wooden coaster but underwent a $10 million renovation in 2010 to install steel-hybrid rails before reopening in 2011.
The New Texas Giant won The Golden Ticket Award for best new ride of 2011 by Amusement Today magazine.
Friday's accident was the second ride fatality for a guest at the park since it opened in 1961.
In 1999, a 28-year-old Arkansas woman drowned and 10 other passengers were injured when a raft-like boat on the Roaring Rapids ride at Six Flags overturned in 2 to 3 feet of water about 200 feet from the end of the ride.
In another amusement park accident Friday, a boat on an Ohio thrill ride accidentally rolled backward down a hill and flipped over in water when the ride malfunctioned, injuring all seven people on it. Operators stopped the Shoot the Rapids water ride after the accident, which occurred on the ride's first hill, the Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio, said.