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Recent coaster death brings ride safety into focus

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Updated: 7/22/2013 11:09 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- The Texas giant roller coaster will remain closed for inspection after a Dallas woman died when she fell off the ride Friday.

The president of Six Flags says they will be using "both internal and external experts" to investigate the accident.

Six Flags in Texas is using a third party investigator because -- like Nevada -- they have no state agency that regulates amusement rides.

News 3’s Mackenzie Warren is looking into Nevada's rules and we have plenty of rollercoasters and rides but no official state oversight.

Like Texas, Nevada is one of 21 states without state-wide government oversight to investigate amusement park accidents.

Now a deadly accident in Texas is bringing new focus to the safety of roller coasters in southern Nevada.

Unlike Clark County, the city of Las Vegas does not have inspectors on staff to look at rides.

They rely on third party investigators who give annual reports to the city.

The bottom line is the rider knows what feels right, listen to the operator and when in doubt--get off.

As for the roller coaster in Texas, the Six Flags CEO says it will stay closed until officials are certain it is safe to ride again.

“Any time there is an incident anywhere in the world we do our homework on that incident,” said Ron Lynn, a Clark County safety director.

Nevada may not have a state agency dedicated to checking rides, but Clark County does.

A Texas mom -- Rosy Esparza -- died oin Friday after falling from a 14-story rollercoaster at a Six Flags in Arlington.

“When they came down off the first bump, hit that first turn, she flew out," said Nadine Kelley who witnessed the tragedy.

Witnesses say Esparza was concerned about her lap bar restraint - even before the ride started.

Lynn says any trouble with restraints is a red flag to get off.

Every Amusement attraction in Clark County gets a scheduled inspection and a random check.

So once a year and unannounced--Lynn and his team will ride the New York-New York's Manhattan Express. They'll walk the track--check the structure and hire a third party to do the same -- but much of the safety comes down to the rider.

“First and foremost do not abuse the ride—do not get up on ride—do not try to spin around on the ride. If you do not fit the ride please do not ride the ride,” Lynn said.




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