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Boy Dies After Disney World Ride

His mom carries him off 'Mission: Space' after he blacks out. The ride reopens the next day.

June 15, 2005|From Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A 4-year-old boy died after a spin on a Walt Disney World spaceship ride so intense that seven riders have been taken to the hospital since the ride opened in 2003.

Daudi Bamuwamye lost consciousness Monday aboard "Mission: Space," which spins riders in a giant centrifuge that subjects them to twice the normal force of gravity. The boy's mother carried him off the ride, and paramedics and a theme park worker tried to revive him. He died at a hospital.

An autopsy Tuesday showed no trauma. Sheri Blanton, a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner's Office in Orlando, said further tests would be conducted. She said determining the cause of death could take several weeks.

The sheriff's office said the boy met the minimum 44-inch height requirement for the ride.

Park officials closed the $100-million ride, one of Disney World's most popular, after the death but reopened it Tuesday after company engineers concluded that it was operating normally.

Disney officials said in a statement that they were "providing support to the family and are doing everything we can to help them during this difficult time." No changes were made to the ride or in who was permitted to ride it.

"We believe the ride is safe in its current configuration," Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak said. About 8.6 million visitors have gone on "Mission: Space" since 2003, she said.

The ride recreates a rocket launch and a trip to Mars. A clock counts down before a simulated blastoff that includes fire and the sound of roaring rocket engines. The G-forces twist and distort riders' faces.

An audio recording and a video warn of the risks. A sign advises that riders should be free from health conditions the ride could aggravate.

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