Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY
AUSTIN -- The Texas Giant roller coaster can't re-open until it gets a new safety inspection report following the death Friday evening of a woman riding the tallest steel-hybrid coaster in the world at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, said a spokesman for the state agency that regulates amusement rides.
"The ride has to be stopped and not re-opened until it's re-inspected by a certified inspector. That's what's going on now," Jerry Hagins, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Insurance, said Sunday.
Hagins said he hasn't yet been briefed on the accident that claimed the life of a woman identified by local news media as Rosy Esparza of Dallas, who was reportedly making her first visit to the amusement park. But he says his agency's oversight involves liability insurance and annual safety inspections, which result in a sticker posted on each ride. The sticker on the roller coaster was effective through February 2014. The state agency does not investigate accidents, he said.
"In addition to the annual safety inspection, amusement ride operators are required to inspect each of their rides every day and keep a log of those inspections. They don't submit (it) to us, but there's a log on premises and can be supplied to law enforcement upon request," he said.
Local authorities have completed their investigation, and now "Six Flags is the one conducting the investigation," Arlington Police Sgt. Christopher Cook said Sunday.
He says the Arlington police and fire departments responded to the call. Police "ruled out foul play and therefore we are preparing a death investigation report." The fire department "assisted with recovering the deceased."
Cook says police interviewed approximately two dozen people. "The 911 call came at 6:45 p.m. They were still interviewing people at midnight," he said.
Six Flags spokeswoman Sharon Parker said in an e-mail Sunday "we are committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident and will utilize every resource throughout this process. It would be a disservice to the family to speculate regarding what transpired. When we have new information to provide, we will do so."
The Dallas Morning News reported Sunday that Gerstlauer Amusement Rides in Munsterhausen, Germany, will investigate what led to Friday's accident.
Parker earlier had confirmed that a woman died while riding but did not specify how she was killed. The Texas Giant is only at Six Flags over Texas and not at any of the other Six Flags parks elsewhere in the USA.
Witnesses told local media outlets that the woman fell.
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. 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?'"
Hagins says states vary on how such rides are regulated.
The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, an industry trade association, said in a statement Sunday that the likelihood of being seriously injured on a ride at a permanently located park in the U.S. is 1 in 24 million.
Hagins said he expects the investigation to be swift.
"It is the highest priority for the operator and for the regulator," he said. "It's going to be very quick that this is inspected and determined what caused this tragic accident."
Contributing: Natalie DiBlasio; the Associated Press