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Firm to inspect death plunge ride

A German rollercoaster maker is sending experts to a Texas amusement park after a woman fell to her death from a rollercoaster said to be the tallest steel-hybrid ride in the world.

Tobias Lindnar, a project manager for Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, told The Dallas Morning News that the company would investigate what led to Friday's fatal accident at the Six Flags Over Texas park in Arlington.

Witnesses said the woman expressed concern about the Texas Giant rollercoaster's safety bar not completely engaging as the ride was starting.

But Mr Lindnar, speaking from Germany, told the paper: "I'm sure there's no safety bar that is broken."

He said Gerstlauer never had problems with car safety bars on any of the 50 rollercoasters it has built around the world over the past 30 years. "We will be on site, and we will see what has happened," he said.

Park spokeswoman Sharon Parker said the woman died while riding the 14-storey Texas Giant, but she would not give specifics about what happened.

Arlington police referred information about the woman's identity to the medical examiner's office in Tarrant County, which did not respond to messages for comment. Because no foul play is suspected, police are not involved in the investigation.

Mr Lindnar would not address the hydraulic bar's operation, saying: "At this time I don't want to speak about the technicals. It's not so easy. It's some special equipment." But he said once the ride began, there was no chance of opening the safety bar.

Texas Department of Insurance spokesman Jerry Hagins said Six Flags complied with state regulations requiring proof of an annual safety inspection by a certified engineer.

Six Flags received a state-issued sticker for the Texas Giant in February. Mr Hagins said the ride would remain closed until it was inspected again and certified to be safe. The ride first opened in 1990 as an all-wooden coaster and it underwent a 10 million-dollar renovation to install steel-hybrid rails, reopening in 2011. It can carry up to 24 people.

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