Amusement park safety oversight keeps standards high in Oklahoma
ARLINGTON, TX — Authorities continue to investigate what caused a mother to fall to her death from a famous roller-coaster at the Six Flags amusement park in Arlington, Texas over the weekend.
Rosy Esparzo was killed Friday on the theme park’s “Texas Giant.” Witnesses say just moments before the 14-story ride began, the 52-year old expressed concern that the safety bar had not completely engaged.
Six Flags officials remain tight-lipped about the investigation, but we know that they will be the ones in charge of conducting the investigation.
With no safety oversight, there are no authorities to work with in Texas to find out just what happened on the ride Friday. But here in Oklahoma the Department of Labor keeps a close eye on our favorite attractions.
Frontier City’s “Wildcat” is the closest thing Oklahoma has to the “Texas Giant.”
The Department of Labor’s Randall McGinnis says, “We spend sometimes up to a week on that one particular ride.”
With what he calls the highest standards in the nation, the states chief amusement park inspector and investigator walks the entire track of that ride every year looking for any sign of deterioration. Traveling shows, like the state fair, have it the worse.
We look at them every set up,” says McGinnis. “If they were to play in Oklahoma City on the north side this weekend we’d look at them. If they tear down and play on the south side next weekend they would get looked at again.”
Those are full blown investigations of the entire park before they can even think about opening, and McGinnis says they’ve recently taken it one step further.
“This is something that started about five years ago,” says McGinnis. “We were the first state in the nation to start it. Each operator has to have on the back of their name tag what ride their certified to operate.”
With that close attention to detail, McGinnis says he and his inspectors will not be doing any surprise inspections in response to this weekend’s tragic accident.
“We are not going to be doing anything above and beyond what we are already doing,” says McGinnis. “We feel like we have a good program. We’re confident in what we do.”
McGinnis says he’d love to say that Oklahoma never has amusement park accidents but that’s not always true. He did stress that the majority of those accidents are operator and patron error.