Witnesses Said Texas Woman Concerned Before Ride Began

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The death of a woman on a roller coaster at a popular amusement park on Friday has left many New Yorkers skittish about going on rides.

Rosa Ayala-Goana was killed last week when she fell from the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington.

As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported Monday, most said they typically don’t fear getting on an amusement park thriller.

“You pretty much assume that it’s very safe,” East Harlem resident Jose Infante told Burrell. “I trust them.”

But along with that assumption, many said they are cautious as well.

“The first thing you think is actually, am I strapped in correctly,” Gerardo Iglasias of the Bronx said.

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That was apparently the concern of Ayala-Goana when she got on the 14-story coaster.

Witnesses told authorities that she had expressed concern moments before the ride began that the safety bar had not completely engaged.

“One of the employees from the park, one of the ladies, she asked them to click her more than once. And the guy was like, as long as you heard it click, you’re OK,” witness Carmen Brown said.

The 52-year-old was evidently not properly secured and, according to witnesses, flew out from her seat, Burrell reported.

“You are at very high speed, very high acceleration environment and you don’t have much time to react,” City College civil engineering professor Anil Agrawal told Burrell.

Agrawal said with the ride’s 79-degree angle, Ayala-Goana was essentially free-falling to her death.

“Imagine you are driving 60 to 70 mph speed and you don’t have any breaking mechanism,” said Agrawal.

On the webite for most amusement parks like Six Flags, there are warnings for riders alerting them to the “inherent risks” of the rides, but accidents are rare.

According to the National Safety Council, there were four injuries per every 1 million riders on amusement park rides. Of the 1,200 injuries, 59 percent were roller coaster related, according to the agency.

After this latest incident, riders said they’ll certainly be more cautious.

“After hearing this, you are going to hesitate,” one woman told Burrell.

“I’ll probably check a second and third time before I get onto a roller coaster,” another would-be roller coaster rider said.

To put it in perspective, in 2011, more than 32,000 people died in car crashes.

National statistics show that four people have died in roller coaster-related accidents over the last four years.

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