ARLINGTON — Rosy Esparza has been named by family members as the woman was killed while riding the Texas Giant roller coaster at Six Flags Over Texas on Friday evening.
Arlington police Sgt. Christopher Cook told The Associated Press that police believe the woman fell, and that there appears to have been no foul play.
He said the park and the Texas Department of Insurance, which approves amusement rides and ensures they are inspected, will be involved in further investigating the accident.
Amusement park rides require annual inspections by the TDI; the inspection sticker for the Texas Giant is good through February, 2014.
We've learned from ride safety expert Ken Martin that Texas doesn't have a regulatory agency for amusement parks, but there are park standards set by the American Society of Testing and Materials International.
"We need uniform regulations that apply across the board," he said. "The same standards, same inspections guidelines apply to all amusement rides in every state."
Another expert, Frank Johnson with an engineering firm in Tyler, Texas, told News 8 that once local law enforcement rules out anything criminal in the incident, Six Flags, insurance companies, and often the victim's attorneys can begin their investigations.
Johnson said there are multiple simultaneous investigations into an incident like this, and it could take days or even weeks for a final determination.
It was all quiet Saturday where the Texas Giant normally roars on a summer day. Someone placed a bouquet of flowers near the entrance on Saturday in Esparza's honor.
Her family said it was her first time at the theme park.
Six Flags has been providing occasional updates. In the most recent statement, issued Saturday afternoon, a spokesman for the park said they are "committed to determining the cause of this tragic accident and will utilize every resource throughout this process."
Outside of the Texas Giant, it was business as usual at Six Flags on Saturday, something that surprised Zavante McGriff.
"Somebody died, and I thought the whole park would at least be closed down until next week or something," he said.
Most patrons talked with Saturday knew what had happened on Friday night, but were unfazed.
"My mom told me about it, and I was shocked and devastated about what happened," Javonte Jones said.
The DeLeons had been planning their Six Flags trip for a while, but that didn't mean Francis was at ease.
"I don't know... It's scary," she said. "I'm a very anxious person; I don't know if I'm going to get on."
It's unclear how long the Texas Giant will remain closed. The Six Flags spokeswoman made it clear they will not rush to comment on how this may have happened.
Also on Friday, an Ohio amusement park's thrill ride malfunctioned when a boat accidentally rolled backward down a hill and flipped over in water, injuring all seven people on it. Operators stopped the Shoot the Rapids water ride after the accident, said officials with Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky, Ohio.
Six Flags Over Texas opened in 1961 and was the first amusement park in the Six Flags system. It is 17 miles west of downtown Dallas. A 28-year-old Arkansas woman drowned and 10 other passengers were injured in 1999 when a raft-like boat on the Roaring Rapids ride overturned in 2 to 3 feet of water.
There were 1,204 ride-related injuries reported in the United States in 2011 — about 4.3 for every million visitors — according to the National Safety Council's most recent data. Of those, 61 were deemed serious, the March 2013 report said, and roller coasters accounted for 405 injuries.
Fatalities were not listed in the report, which was prepared for Alexandria, Va.-based International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. Also, only 144 of the 383 amusement facilities with rides in the United States responded to the survey.
A 2005 report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated just over four people died annually on amusement rides from 1987 to 2002. The estimate includes both mobile amusement park rides and fixed-site rides.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.