AUTOPSY shows woman who died after roller coaster ride had aneurysm

Monday, June 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An autopsy found that a 28-year-old woman who died after a roller coaster ride had suffered an aneurysm of the cerebral artery and bleeding near her brain stem, officials said.

The aneurysm may have been a pre-existing condition, but the roller coaster ride caused the fatal injuries, Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office said Sunday.

The woman, Pearl Santos, was found slumped over in her seat when the three-minute Goliath coaster ride came to an end Saturday at Six Flags Magic Mountain amusement park. Park and county paramedics performed CPR but she died at a hospital.

``This was due to an accident on the ride, due to injuries she sustained. It was a not a natural cause of death,'' Corral said.

It remained unclear late Sunday if whiplash from the ride or other factors related to the roller coaster caused the aneurysm to rupture.

The woman's mother, Juanita Santos, said her daughter did not have any history of health problems.

Goliath, which opened last year, is a 255-foot metal roller coaster. Its three-minute ride offers turns, drops and spirals and reaches speeds of 85 mph.

Park officials said the death appeared to be unrelated to the ride, which was functioning normally. The ride was shut down, inspected and reopened several hours later.

``Nothing like this has ever happened here,'' park spokesman Andy Gallardo said. ``It's a very unfortunate occurrence, and our thoughts go out to the family.''

The Six Flags Magic Mountain park is located in Valencia, about 25 miles northwest of Los Angeles.