WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (WAVY) - An amusement park faces tough questions after a woman flipped off a rollercoaster and fell to her death Friday evening in Texas.
The accident happened at Six Flags in Arlington, Texas, and the amusement park itself will do the investigation because there are no state laws regulating amusement park rides in Texas.
Twenty other states don't have laws regulating amusement park rides either, but Virginia does. 10 On Your Side looked into those laws and uncovered a problem with the inspections of Busch Gardens' rides in Williamsburg.
According to Virginia law, permanent parks, such as Busch Gardens and King's Dominion, are inspected at the beginning of summer each season and at least once during the season. New or modified rides must also be inspected before they can operate. The inspectors are local building inspectors with special certification and ongoing training requirements.
10 On Your Side obtained a copy of Busch Gardens last inspection done in March. There are no problems indicated.
But there is a related problem -- James City County missed an inspection of Busch Gardens last year after the law changed. They did not hold the second yearly inspection during the season.
WAVY.com pointed out the problem and here's the explanation.
Starting in 2012, the law changed to require the two inspections -- previously only one was mandated.
JCC building managers did not see the change and were continuing by the requirements of the old law. Now that the problem has been brought to their attention, they say they will comply and inspect the park again this summer.
Tom Coghill, Director of Building and Safety Permits in James City County thanked WAVY.com for pointing out the change in the law so they can now be compliant.
WAVY.com also checked with Busch Gardens and received this statement:
Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by [the tragedy in Texas]. While we are unable to comment on the Texas incident, at Busch Gardens, there is no higher priority than the safety of our guests and employees. That commitment is reflected in the sophistication of our ride safety program, which begins with an attraction's design, fabrication and construction. Rides are inspected daily by Busch Gardens' technicians and by other ride safety experts to ensure safe operation. Team members are trained on each ride's specific operating and safety procedures, which include all safety checks necessary for the ride's safe operation.
The safety of our guests and team members is our highest priority. All of our rides have valid permits and were inspected prior to the start of our operating season. The inspections required during the operating season have not yet been scheduled for 2013.
The communications director was still working to find out what park officials knew about the change in the law.
Stay with WAVY.com for updates on this story.
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