ARLINGTON, Tex. (WISH/ AP) - Six Flags Over Texas will run its own, internal investigation into the roller-coaster accident that killed a woman at its Dallas-area park. An I-Team 8 investigation found a similar investigation without state oversight wouldn't be allowed to occur in Indiana.
Jim Reid-Anderson, president of the amusement park company, said it would use "both internal and external experts" in its investigation, but offered no details about the investigation during a conference call Monday to discuss the company's earnings.
Reid-Anderson said Six Flags officials were joining the call with "heavy hearts."
Rosa Ayala-Goana was killed when she fell Friday from the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, a western suburb of Dallas.
Witnesses told authorities that Ayala-Goana expressed concern moments before the 14-story ride began that the safety bar had not completely engaged.
Both Indiana and Texas require annual inspections of all amusement park rides. But, I-Team 8 found investigations after an incident can be handled very differently from state to state.
Six Flags Over Texas called in the German company that built the roller coaster to help in its investigation over the weekend. But, that company's findings will be turned over to Six Flags, essentially leaving the theme park investigating itself.
Indiana Department of Homeland Security spokesman Ian Connor says that wouldn't be allowed to happen here.
"When we are informed there has been an accident, Indiana Department of Homeland Security sends out an inspector to help determine what happened," he said. "If it's a criminal case, police might also be involved. But, certainly there would be regulatory oversight."
However, a recent I-Team 8 investigation found there were just 13 such amusement park inspectors for the entire state. Together, they are also charged with inspecting each of the state's 18,000 elevators every year. Since our first report, the number of inspectors has decreased to 12, Connor said.
I-Team 8 also found that traveling rides--like those at county fairs and the Indiana State Fair--only have to be inspected once a year in Indiana, regardless of how many times they're moved.
That policy remains in place, Connor said.
But, following I-Team 8's investigation, inspectors are now performing unannounced "spot checks" on rides that have already passed their annual inspection, he said. Consumers can also call a new hotline at 1-888-203-5020 to report rides that don't look or sound right.
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