|Child Dies After Riding Disney's
June 14 (Bloomberg) -- A four-year-old boy died yesterday after
riding the ``Mission: Space'' attraction at Walt Disney World resort
in Florida, a ride that simulates a rocket launch.
Daudi Bamuwamye was carried off the Epcot park ride by his mother
after he fell unconscious at about 3:30 p.m., Orange County Sheriff
spokeswoman Crystal Candy said. Paramedics failed to revive the boy
and he was pronounced dead at Florida Celebration Hospital at 5
p.m., she said.
``Mission: Space,'' which reopened today after an inspection, is
designed for ``thrill-loving guests'' who can endure a ``highly
turbulent'' ride, meet height rules and don't suffer from motion
sickness, high blood pressure or heart conditions, Walt Disney Co.
said on its Web site.
``It's a mystery as to what happened,'' Candy said. The cause of
death wasn't immediately available, she said.
The height requirement for the ride is 44 inches (113 centimeters)
or taller. Daudi was 46 inches tall, and the family said he didn't
have any medical problems, according to Candy. There is no age
restriction on the ride, she said.
``We are saddened by this highly unusual event,'' Disney said in an
e-mailed statement today. ``Our first concern is for the family and
we are doing everything we can to help them during this difficult
Disney, based in Burbank, California, confirmed only some of the
details. Emergency services were called at about 3:30 p.m. to the
ride to attend to the unresponsive child, Disney said. The child was
taken to a hospital, Disney said.
The Orange County Sheriff's Office conducted an investigation and
engineers performed an inspection to determine the ride was
operating normally, Disney said. Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak
declined to comment beyond the statement.
Daudi, who traveled with his family from Sellersville, Pennsylvania,
was on the ride with his mother, Agnes, 40, and his sister, Ruth, 8.
During the ride, Agnes saw the boy was unconscious and ``rigid,''
Candy said. ``She had to pick him up and carry him off the ride'' to
a bench, Candy said.
A Disney employee tried to revive him, Candy said. Reedy Creek
Emergency Services, which has paramedics on duty at the park, also
responded, she said.
Disney, the second-largest media company, spent at least $100
million building the ride, according to analysts' estimates.
There were 37 ride-related accidents at Walt Disney World where
someone was taken to a hospital since October 2001, when Disney
started reporting them to the Florida Bureau of Fair Rides
Inspection, said Allan Harrison, a bureau operations manager.
Of those, seven occurred as a result of a ride on ``Mission:
Space,'' which opened in 2003, Harrison said. Those included nausea,
chest pains and fainting, Harrison said. The victims were all at
least 40 years old.
Two ride-related deaths have occurred at the park since 2001, before
yesterday, Harrison said.
Previous deaths at Disney amusement parks have led to calls for
greater regulation of attractions. The California Supreme Court in
April heard arguments in a case from the family of a 23- year-old
woman who died after riding on the Indiana Jones Adventure at the
company's Disneyland resort in Anaheim.
The suit seeks to have park rides subject to the same strict
regulations as public transportation. Disney argued that under the
higher standards a ride could always be safer and slower and that
would cause the ride to ``lose its purpose.''
The California Supreme Court hasn't ruled on the case.
At Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, the company operates Magic
Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios and Disney's Animal Kingdom theme
Walt Disney World also features golf courses, restaurants and 20
hotels. The company also operates the Disneyland Resort Paris, Tokyo
Disney Resort and in September opens Hong Kong Disneyland.
California's Disneyland, the company's first park, opened in 1955.
To contact the reporters on this story:
Alex Armitage in Los Angeles at firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated: June 14, 2005 15:42 EDT