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Fatal Texas coaster saw about dozen past injuries

DALLAS -- More than a dozen people reported being injured in the last five years while riding the Texas roller coaster from which a woman fell to her death last week, though the most serious injuries appear to be a concussion and muscle strains due to jostling, state records show.

Six Flags Over Texas reported 14 injuries involving the Texas Giant roller coaster between April 2008 and April 2013, according to state Department of Insurance records. Three happened either before or after the ride, such as tripping on the steps leading to the roller coaster.

It wasn't immediately clear how many of those injuries prompted the ride to be shut down, department spokesman Jerry Hagins said. If an injury requires medical attention and involved a ride, the ride must be closed until it gets a new safety inspection, he said.

"Our role is to make sure that happens," Hagins said, adding that the Texas Giant was closed and wouldn't reopen until the department sees a new safety inspection report.

Walter Reiss, an amusement park ride safety inspector, added that fatal accidents on roller coasters "are very unusual and infrequent."

"Most times that you have death accidents, it was something either ignorant or human error," he said.

The investigation is continuing into how Rosa Ayala-Goana fell while riding the roller coaster Friday evening at the Six Flags amusement park in Arlington, a western suburb of Dallas. A witness told local media that Ayala-Goana expressed concern moments before the 14-story ride began that the safety bar had not completely engaged.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office confirmed yesterday that the 52- year-old Dallas resident was the victim in the accident, and that she suffered "multiple traumatic injuries" during the fall.

Six Flags Entertainment Corp. President and chief executive Jim Reid-Anderson said the company was using "both internal and external experts" to investigate the accident.

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