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Walt Disney World (WDW) News Discuss Girl Dies at WDW in the News & Rumors forums; Girl dies after collapsing at Disney park The Virginia 12-year-old passed out next to the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. By Willoughby Mariano Sentinel Staff Writer August 5, 2005 A ...
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    Girl Dies at WDW

    Girl dies after collapsing at Disney park

    The Virginia 12-year-old passed out next to the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon.

    By Willoughby Mariano
    Sentinel Staff Writer

    August 5, 2005

    A 12-year-old girl died Thursday evening after passing out at the wave pool at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, marking the third time in three months that a young person has suddenly 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 about 6 p.m. when a lifeguard approached her to check on her, said Crystal Candy, a spokeswoman with the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

    The child, who was visiting with cousins and an aunt from Newport News, Va., 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 said.

    The girl's pulse stopped and she stopped breathing, so lifeguards began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

    But it was too late.

    Reedy Creek Fire Rescue transported the girl to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where she was pronounced dead, Candy said.

    "It is mysterious," Candy said. She would not identify the girl pending notification of her parents, who were not on the trip. The girl was out of the water when she fell ill.

    Bo Jones, a spokesman for Reedy Creek Fire Rescue, called the incident "baffling."

    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 has no known medical conditions.

    Jones said paramedics followed established procedures in their attempts to revive the girl.

    Thursday's incident is the third sudden critical illness of a young person visiting Walt Disney World in three months. It is the second fatality.

    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.

    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. A CT scan after her collapse showed she was bleeding in her brain.

    Although Leanne complained of leg cramps and headaches before her collapse, her mother, June Deacon, told deputies that she too had no known medical conditions.

    Leanne remained in critical condition Thursday at Florida Hospital Orlando. Family members have not disclosed further information.

    Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection and Disney found the Tower of Terror operated properly.

    The 61-acre Typhoon Lagoon simulates the remains of a Caribbean island village battered by storms. A vast surfing lagoon creates what the park advertises as "one of the world's largest artificially created waves for body surfing," according to one company description.

    A Disney company official was dispatched to Florida Hospital Celebration Health to tend to the family's needs. Disney spokeswoman Prunty expressed condolences on behalf of her company.

    "Our first thought is for the girl's family," Prunty said.

    Willoughby Mariano can be reached at wmariano@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5171.

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    i know this is going to sound morbid, and that is not my intention, but this is why i hate the news, stuff like this happens everywhere, around the world, everyday. but, one person passes on a day when there is no other more entertaining news, so it gets some backing, and now every other little incident rides the wave.

    don't get me wrong, it's sad these people died, but it does not mean there is a black cloud of death lurking over Disney.

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    Hey Grumpy Dude, we actually agree on something. The reporter is slanting the story from the get go. "marking the third time in three months that a young person has suddenly fallen critically ill while visiting Walt Disney World"- give me a break!!! Millions of people flock to Disney World each year and nearly 100% leave to go home healthy, happy, and alive (broke but alive). By any census or statistical measure, Disney should be dubbed the "Safest Place on Earth". Out of the last three incidents, only the one at Mission Space can really be addressed by Disney (possibly make an age requirement), but none of them were the fault of Disney or anything that Disney could have expected to prevent. This reporter might as well report all of the heart attacks, strokes, and stubbed toes that happen at a local mall. There would probably be more news there than at Disney.

    I feel for the family of this girl and the others that did not have a magical ending to their vacation, but this is too much.

    Thanks for sharing JC
    Last edited by DisneyonaDime; 08-05-2005 at 11:53 AM.
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    I'm sure a statistical analysis is available somewhere

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    You know I was reading the paper this morning and came across this page that had like 23 people who died on it (aka the obits)!!! They were ranging from ages 39-101.. they died from heart attacks, cancer, unkown causes, accidents, and such... some died at home, in the hospitals, hospice centers, in cars... but non of them made to front page of a national paper.. why it is some people seem to get more "glory" than others???

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    This is so hard to believe! My prayers & thoughts are with her family.
    "What ARRRRGH you doing?"

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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyonaDime
    Hey Grumpy Dude, we actually agree on something.
    don't tease me like that!

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    It is indeed tragic for anyone to become seriously ill or die at the Happiest Place on Earth. There are a lot of folks in the Orlando area that have a love-hate thing about WDW, just like many college/university towns do, and are always looking on the dark side of the relationship. Personally, there have been times I was a little woozy at WDW from either the heat and humidity, or after exiting of the the trill rides. In 2001 I had heat exhaustion or something like that come over me out-of-the-blue while waiting to see Jason Alexander at MGM when it was 95 degress in the shade with very high humidity. I did not drink enough that day and it caught up with me in a big way. I even passed on going back to see Fantasmic that night, which gives you a hint I was not 100%. I learned my lesson that day, but unfortunately most people go all out at WDW and forget the simple things to keep them well and safe.
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    I agree with you JC. These incidents are not the fault of WDW Resort. There had to be some predisposed problem with each of these cases. I am an EMT and I know how different things can pose problems for a person but if you had no history about a problem, you are not going to know what will happen. The people that blame Disney really don't have an idea because Cast Members don't have x-ray vision to tell what is wrong with a person!!! Those people just hate Disney because it's Disney.....too bad, they don't know what they are missing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dzney4lyf
    You know I was reading the paper this morning and came across this page that had like 23 people who died on it (aka the obits)!!! They were ranging from ages 39-101.. they died from heart attacks, cancer, unkown causes, accidents, and such... some died at home, in the hospitals, hospice centers, in cars... but non of them made to front page of a national paper..
    Fantastic point. They're just going for sensational stories.


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    You're right, but....

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDude
    i know this is going to sound morbid, and that is not my intention, but this is why i hate the news, stuff like this happens everywhere, around the world, everyday. but, one person passes on a day when there is no other more entertaining news, so it gets some backing, and now every other little incident rides the wave.

    don't get me wrong, it's sad these people died, but it does not mean there is a black cloud of death lurking over Disney.
    I think part of the reason the news is making a big deal is because now Disney and the other theme parks are required to report any deaths that happen at their parks so now there's another thing to write about. It's sad, but it's a new thing for reporters to obtain so they make a big deal about it.
    Now is the time. Now is the best time. Now is the best time of your life. Life is a prize. Live every minute. Open your eyes and watch how you win it. Yesterdays memories may sparkle and gleam. Tomorrow is still but a dream! Remember the past, but live for today. The whole world is watching and your in the parade. There's so much to cheer for, be glad you're here for it's the best time of your life!

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    Jerra Kirby of Newport News, Va.
    Aug 5, 2005

    Autopsy reveals girl did not suffer injury

    By Anthony Colarossi and Jerry W. Jackson
    Sentinel Staff Writers

    August 6, 2005

    The 12-year-old girl who died Thursday after collapsing at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon did not suffer a physical injury before her death, according to an autopsy conducted Friday morning.

    The autopsy "revealed no signs of trauma," said Steve Hanson, chief investigator of the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's Office.

    "The cause of death is pending additional testing," he said. "There was nothing that stood out as being the cause of death, anatomically. She didn't die from physical injury. That's what trauma is."

    It could now take at least four to six weeks to conduct the more sophisticated testing required to determine the cause of death, Hanson said.

    The investigator told the Daily Press in Newport News, Va. -- where the girl, Jerra Kirby, lived -- that the death "is probably some type of medical issue. It's probably going to be a natural death."

    Jerra died after passing out at the wave pool at Typhoon Lagoon. She was not in the water at the time. Her relatives told police the girl -- a regular on the honor roll at her elementary and middle schools -- had no known medical conditions.

    It was the third time since June that a young person has fallen critically ill while visiting Disney.

    Florida's chief investigator for rides and attractions said Friday that Walt Disney World reported Jerra's death to the state because of the "serious nature" of the incident, but the Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection likely will not investigate.

    "From all we know at the moment it does not appear to be ride related," said Allan Harrison, chief investigator. The agency inspects water parks along with fairs and small attractions, but Disney and other major parks are exempt by state law, Harrison said.

    Disney asked the state to check out the Tower of Terror ride in July when a teen from England collapsed and was hospitalized with bleeding in the brain after riding the simulated elevator ride. The ride was found to be operating normally.

    In June, a Pennsylvania boy collapsed on Epcot's Mission: Space ride and later died. Disney's inspections showed no signs of ride malfunction.

    Disney and other large water-park operators such as SeaWorld do file incident reports with the state, Harrison said, when water-park incidents are serious enough to warrant a trip to a hospital, just as the parks do for mechanical rides.

    The most serious water-park incident reported to the state by Disney since 2001 was in February 2003, when a 31-year-old woman fell on the steps to a pool at Typhoon Lagoon, fractured an ankle and later died of a pulmonary embolism.

    Three other Typhoon Lagoon incident reports were filed in recent years, including one 46-year-old man who had a stroke, according to family members. Five incidents were recorded at Blizzard Beach, another Disney water park, from 2001 to June 2005, according to the most recent state records. Most of the cases involved adults with bumps and sprains but one was an 11-year-old boy who reportedly suffered a seizure.

    In Newport News on Friday, Jerra's family members could not be reached. A woman who identified herself as a family friend at the girl's home would not comment.

    Jerra was a regular on the honor roll at Hines Middle School and at Watkins Elementary School. In her most recent yearbook picture, she's shown smiling, wearing braids and a half-ponytail.

    On the day she died, Jerra's name was published in the Daily Press in a list of honor roll students at Hines. Her name was listed under the "All A's" category.

    Monique Angle and Beverly N. Williams of the (Newport News, Va.,) Daily Press, a Tribune Publishing newspaper, contributed to this story. Anthony Colarossi can be reached at 407-420-6218 or acolarossi@orlandosentinel.com. Jerry W. Jackson can be reached at 407-420-5721 or jwjackson@orlandosentinel.com.
    Last edited by Jiminy Cricket; 08-07-2005 at 12:38 AM.
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    It is indeed sad when anyone dies, but as all of you had said they seem to be slanting the news. If you do the math you are looking at somwhere around 0.0000001% of a chance you will die at disney. By the way that is far less than your chance of dieing in a car acciendent or even visiting the Grand Cayon or even swiming in your nieghbours back yard pool. Agian any death is sad no matter where it happens. My prayers are for the families and for the press whom seem to think they need to slant the news the way they do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDude
    i know this is going to sound morbid, and that is not my intention, but this is why i hate the news, stuff like this happens everywhere, around the world, everyday. but, one person passes on a day when there is no other more entertaining news, so it gets some backing, and now every other little incident rides the wave.

    don't get me wrong, it's sad these people died, but it does not mean there is a black cloud of death lurking over Disney.
    My thoughts exactly.

  15. #15
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    This is a shame it keeps happening, but more a shame that the media, in my opinion, seems to be looking for accidents and tragedy at Disney. It is like they took the first recent story, ran with it, and just never stopped!
    I am in need of some Disney magic!!

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