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Boy Dies After Roller Coaster Ride

July 19, 1989

AUSTELL, Ga. (AP) _ An 11-year-old boy collapsed while riding the ″Z-Force″ roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia and was pronounced dead a short time later, officials said.

Six Flags spokesman Bob Maxwell said the boy appeared fine when he boarded the roller coaster with his family at 9:40 p.m. Tuesday, but was found unconscious at the end of the ride, which includes six sharp, corkscrew dives.

Park personnel applied cardiopulmonary resuscitation until an ambulance took the boy to HCA Parkway Medical Center, Maxwell said. The boy, who showed now outward signs of injury, was pronounced dead at 10:46 p.m., said hospital spokeswoman Mimi Salkin.

Cobb County Police identified the boy as William D. Pope of Talladega, Ala. An autopsy was scheduled for today.

The roller coaster was closed as a precaution in keeping with park and state rules, though there was no apparent malfunction, Maxwell said.

The roller coaster carries a warning that pregnant women and people with heart or back problems shouldn’t ride.

The operators and other passengers on the ride were being interviewed to determine if anything unusual occurred, but no other injuries were reported, Maxwell said.

The shoulder harness and lap belt were in place when the boy returned, he said.

″The ride appears to be operating perfectly, but we won’t take any chances,″ Maxwell said.

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