August 05, 2005
Girl, 12, dies at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
A 12-year-old girl died Thursday evening after passing out at the wave pool at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon near Orlando. It was the third time in three months that a youth has suddenly and mysteriously fallen critically ill while visiting Walt Disney World.
The girl was sitting by herself on one of the simulated islands that dot the water park’s wave pool at about 6 p.m. when a lifeguard approached her to check on her, Crystal Candy, an Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, told the Orlando Sentinel.
The Virginia girl, who was visiting with cousins and an aunt, reportedly told the lifeguard she was fine and asked to be left alone. But when she stood up, she immediately passed out and the lifeguard signaled for help.
Employees dialed 911 and monitored the girl’s vital signs, Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty told the newspaper.
The girl’s pulse stopped and she stopped breathing, so lifeguards began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Reedy Creek Fire Rescue transported the girl to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where she was pronounced dead, the newspaper reported Friday, citing Candy.
The Sheriff’s office declined to identify the girl pending notification of her parents, who were not on the trip.
Officials did not know what the girl was doing before lifeguards approached her. Family members, who were nearby when the lifeguard first approached her, told deputies the 12-year-old had no known medical conditions.
Thursday’s incident is the second fatality and the third sudden critical illness of a youth in three months at Walt Disney World resort. On June 13, Daudi Bamuwamye, 4, of Pennsylvania collapsed on Epcot’s Mission: Space ride and later died. Inspections showed no signs of ride malfunction, and investigators are awaiting results of an Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner’s report (AB, 6-14)
On July 12, Leanne Deacon, 16, of Kibworth, England, suffered cardiac arrest shortly after exiting Disney-MGM Studio’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror thrill ride (July, 7-12). A CT scan after her collapse showed she was bleeding in her brain. The girl’s mother told deputies that she had no known medial conditions, according to the Sentinel.
Deacon remained in critical condition Thursday at Florida Hospital Orlando. Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection and Disney found the Tower of Terror operated properly.
The incidents have renewed calls from some U.S. legislators and ride-safety activists for greater federal regulation of the amusement industry.
They say that the industry in Florida is largely self-regulated and that no uniform standards exist nationwide for reporting and investigating incidents involving rides and attractions.
In June, the California Supreme Court ruled that operators of amusement rides can be considered “common carriers” under state law and as such are required to provide the same level of care as operators of airlines, buses and trains.
The ruling only applies in California but could be cited as a precedent in civil cases outside the Golden State.