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"At the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not the person fits," he added. "If the harness locks normally, without forcing it, it's OK. And the final say is up to the ride operator to tell you, 'I'm sorry, you can't ride.'"
The roller coaster was issued its most recent safety permit in February and was in compliance with state regulations that require an annual inspection by a qualified engineer, according to state records. Proof of those inspections also must be submitted to the Texas Department of Insurance.
Hagins noted that Texas has an insurance-based regulatory system for amusement park rides and that the ride also was in compliance with rules that require $1 million liability insurance.
The Dallas Morning News has reported that officials with the roller coaster's car manufacturer, Gerstlauer Amusement Rides in Germany, were set to come to Texas to inspect the ride. The company could not be reached late Monday by phone and an email was not immediately returned.
Don Hankins, of Lakeland, Fla.-based PLH & Associates, Inc., who inspected the roller coaster in February, did not return a call to The Associated Press on Monday.