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Walt Disney World (WDW) News Discuss Disney Faces Lawsuit From Mission: SPACE Death in the News & Rumors forums; Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer Posted June 13, 2006, 8:00 PM EDT One year after a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy died after riding Epcot's Mission: Space simulator ride, his family ...
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    Disney Faces Lawsuit From Mission: SPACE Death

    Scott Powers | Sentinel Staff Writer
    Posted June 13, 2006, 8:00 PM EDT

    One year after a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy died after riding Epcot's Mission: Space simulator ride, his family has sued Walt Disney World for wrongful death.

    The family of Daudi Bamuwamye sued the company Tuesday in Orange County Circuit Court seeking unspecified damages. They say company officials didn't adequately warn the public of the ride's hazards, should never have allowed a boy so small onto the ride, and didn't do enough to help him when he got off unconscious and stricken.

    "They are exposing the general public to a ride whose forces they don't really understand," said Tampa attorney Robert A. Samartin, who is representing Daudi's parents, Moses and Agnes Bamuwamye of Sellersville, Pa.

    Mission: Space spins riders inside a mock spaceship, using centrifugal force, other physical motion, video and audio to simulate a trip to Mars. The ride opened in the summer of 2003 and Disney has said more than 11 million people have been on it.

    In April, a second person died after riding the attraction, a 49-year-old German woman named Hiltrud Bl?At least another 10 have been hospitalized and at least another 130 have been treated at the scene for illnesses.

    In May Disney revised the ride to offer a "lite" version that does not include centrifugal force. But the company has always maintained, and still insists, that the original version is safe.

    A Disney spokeswoman denied all the assertions in the suit Tuesday and offered the family sympathy.

    While on vacation, Daudi, his sister Ruth, and their mother rode Mission: Space on June 13, 2005. During the ride, Agnes Bamuwamye saw her son tense up, scream and then become unresponsive. When the ride ended, paramedics and later doctors at Florida Hospital Celebration were unable to resuscitate him.

    An autopsy by Dr. Jan. C. Garavaglia, chief medical examiner for the district that includes Orange and Osceola counties, found that Daudi died of a heart attack caused by a previously undiagnosed, rare heart disease that gave him an enlarged heart flawed with scar tissue.

    Another autopsy is pending for Bl?though a preliminary report said she had severe high blood pressure and died of a stroke.

    The Bamuwamye family was marking the anniversary of Daudi's death Wednesday in quiet solitude and was unavailable to comment, Samartin said.

    "They are struggling. They have a surviving daughter and they are forging ahead. They are people of deep faith. That helps them," he said. "But it's a day-to-day struggle.

    Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak called his death "a terrible loss to his loved ones. We sympathize with them. However, we disagree with the assertions of the lawsuit."

    The Bamuwamye suit accuses Disney of not doing anything to modify the ride or adequately warn the public of danger even though many people have sought emergency medical attention since the ride's inception.

    The family also faults Disney for allowing 44-inch children on the ride, when one national standard, suggested by the American Society for Testing and Materials, calls for a 48-inch minimum for rides of high acceleration. Daudi was 46 inches tall.

    And the Bamuwamyes complain that Disney paramedics did not use a portable defibrillator on him. They say Disney boasts, in promotional materials, of having portable defibrillators throughout its theme parks, and 4,000 employees trained to use them.

    "We're pretty confident it would have given this kid a chance, and possibly saved his life," Samartin said.

    Polak acknowledged that there was no portable defibrillator stationed at Mission: Space. But she said well-trained, well-equipped paramedics handled the emergency response appropriately. She also said the 44-inch height is appropriate for the ride, and that Disney has no reason to change the ride or public warnings that are delivered through multiple signs and audio and video media. They warn, among other things, that people with heart conditions or high blood pressure should not ride.

    "We believe the attraction is safe," she said.
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    Polak acknowledged that there was no portable defibrillator stationed at Mission: Space. But she said well-trained, well-equipped paramedics handled the emergency response appropriately. She also said the 44-inch height is appropriate for the ride, and that Disney has no reason to change the ride or public warnings that are delivered through multiple signs and audio and video media. They warn, among other things, that people with heart conditions or high blood pressure should not ride.
    I find that last bit surprising, no portable defibrillator at Mission:Space? I'm hoping they've since fixed that problem.

    I think I will stick to the diet version myself, I don't want to have to start taking physicals prior to my Disney trips to see if I can ride M:S safely or not. As far as taking my kids on it? You can forget about that ever happening. It's not worth the risk as far as I'm concerned.

    My thoughts go out to those who lost someone so tragically at the happiest place on earth.


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    As much as I feel sorry for both families they have to understand that there are quite a few warnings for that ride. I've seen at least 2 posters detailing the possible health hazards. Also, there is an INCESSANT warning video that constantly plays while you're in the queue. That warning audio and video announcement is CONSTANTLY playing. It was drilled into my mind by the time I boarded.

    Also, why would you take a 4-year old boy with a heart condition on that ride?

    Now, some precautions that Disney should take.
    Now, I seriously doubt that Mission:Space Attendants do not have portable defibrilators on-hand but if they don't they need to get some ASAP. Also, I don't know if I noticed but perhaps that ride needs a large, red EMERGENCY STOP button for each seat. Now, I don't think that would be too good of an idea because then any bone-head could push it. Maybe, however, they could have security guards monitoring the video cameras of each individual guest. If it seems that one of them is suffering severely, then they could take measures to stop the ride.

    Once again, my heart goes out to the families sincerely
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    Quote Originally Posted by DisneyFREAK91

    Also, why would you take a 4-year old boy with a heart condition on that ride?

    Now, some precautions that Disney should take.
    Now, I seriously doubt that Mission:Space Attendants do not have portable defibrilators on-hand but if they don't they need to get some ASAP. Also, I don't know if I noticed but perhaps that ride needs a large, red EMERGENCY STOP button for each seat. Now, I don't think that would be too good of an idea because then any bone-head could push it. Maybe, however, they could have security guards monitoring the video cameras of each individual guest. If it seems that one of them is suffering severely, then they could take measures to stop the ride.

    Once again, my heart goes out to the families sincerely
    I think you had some great ideas for Disney.. The stop button is great.. But for both Disney and the families defense no one knew the child had a heart defect or that he even was sick in anyway. But I think your ideas that you came up with for the ride are great!!
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    In the version they 4 year old died on there were over 20 warnings BEFORE they even got in the ready room. Having been on M:S in the 1000 times range, it is a safe ride. You face larger G-Forces on RnR or even Everest, though M:S's G's are a bit longer. The incident to rider ratio on M:S is very low. There are many other rides on property that have more issues than M:S. Disney overall has a great record, far better than most parks worldwide. The medical crew responded within minutes. Far better then the 8-9 min national average.

  6. #6
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    Re: Disney Faces Lawsuit From Mission: SPACE Death

    I love thrill rides and roller coasters, but the Orange/intense version of this ride I ventured on one evening when I was by myself . Wow! Whoa! This is one ride I would've pressed the stop button. They have the emergency stop button on Virtual Space Mountain at Quest, and in my not so humble opinion on this one, the intense version of this ride needs an emergency stop button. I was pale the rest of the night.

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    Re: Disney Faces Lawsuit From Mission: SPACE Death

    This is not one of my favorite rides, and it does tend to make me sick. However, there are a multitude of warnings about the possible effects of the ride. I feel terrible about the family, but I think a lawsuit is not the way to go.
    cindymouse6 likes this.

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