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View Full Version : Disney visitor collapses on water-park ride, dies


crazy4wdw
03-16-2007, 06:49 AM
Disney visitor collapses on water-park ride, dies
Officials say the man had a pre-existing heart problem; he fell ill at Blizzard Beach.

Pedro Ruz Gutierrez | Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 16, 2007

A visitor to Walt Disney World's Blizzard Beach water park collapsed of an apparent heart attack Thursday afternoon and later died at a hospital, theme-park officials said.

Deputy Chief Bo Jones of the Reedy Creek Fire Department said the man began climbing the stairs of a water ride between 1 and 1:30 p.m. when "he told his wife, 'Hey, I'm not feeling too well.' "

"The man turned around and said, 'I'll meet you downstairs,' " Jones said. "When he got to the bottom of the mountain, he fell and went into cardiac arrest."

Jones said the man, whom authorities would not identify Thursday night, was then pronounced dead at nearby Florida Hospital Celebration Health.

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Polak said the Disney guest and his family were on the Downhill Double Dipper water slide on Blizzard Beach.

Polak said the man's family notified the company that he had died and said the man had a pre-existing heart condition.

Polak said the company offered its "deepest sympathies" to the family. The death is the 10th involving Disney World rides and water-park attractions since late 2004.

It was unclear Thursday night whether the man was on his first attempt to ride the Downhill Double Dipper or had gone down the slide already.

The Walt Disney World Web site places the slide in the "Big Thrills" category and says visitors can "blast down the slopes at 25 miles per hour" in side-by-side speed slides.

In December, a 73-year-old man died of a heart condition three days after losing consciousness at the Magic Kingdom's Space Mountain ride.

A terminally ill boy visiting from Israel also died last year after riding Space Mountain and fainting Aug. 1. However, he suffered from terminal cancer of the lungs, abdomen and spine.

And in June, a 12-year-old boy died after riding a roller coaster at Disney-MGM Studios and losing consciousness. The boy had a genetic heart defect that often goes undetected until it causes the person's sudden death, according to the Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's Office.

Lynn Osgood of the Sentinel staff contributed to this report. Pedro Ruz Gutierrez can be reached at pruz@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5620.

ChrisFL
03-16-2007, 07:35 AM
Ugh, I hate news articles written like that, he didn't die on the attraction, he was walking up a set of stairs, but it's still "the 10th involving Disney World rides and water-park attractions since late 2004." :confused3

TheDisneyGirl02
03-16-2007, 09:40 AM
How sad for his family...

I don't like it how it's phrased in the article saying that it is the 10th death at Disney since 2004. Everyone who passed away there, though tragic, died of a pre-exisiting condition.

I guess the media will always enjoy putting Disney down. :confused3

disneyfan67
03-16-2007, 10:48 AM
I don't get this story either and my questioning it has nothing to do with me being a fan of Disney and WDW. The guy was walking up a set stairs and could have collapsed any where. Why do they have to make it sound like he died going on Mission Space or something. I would question this reporter's choice of words no matter where the poor guy died.

I guess using Disney's name and highlighting the fact that the guy died in one of their theme parks will sell more papers.

DancingBear
03-16-2007, 11:20 AM
I guess the media will always enjoy putting Disney down. :confused3Yeah, like all these hatchet jobs:

http://www.cnn.com/2007/SHOWBIZ/Movies/03/15/disney.newprincess.ap/index.html?section=cnn_latest
http://www.southbendtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070311/Lives09/703110481
http://citizen-times.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200770303020&source=rss
http://www.kptv.com/travelgetaways/11137271/detail.html
http://www.news-press.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070224/NEWS0104/702240327
http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel/chi-0703030092mar04,0,3820246.story?track=rss

DannyDisneyFreak
03-16-2007, 11:37 AM
he had a heart attack, he could have been sitting on the toliet at home for goodness sakes, it is a shame but why should Disney take the blame heart disease?

DancingBear
03-16-2007, 01:08 PM
I must have missed the part of the story where they blamed Disney.

thefirebuilds
03-16-2007, 01:33 PM
i personally hope my last moments on earth do not revolve around me traversing stairs.

</bad taste>Ironically a few more stairs earlier on might have let this gentleman the inconvenience of dying on them. Th-That's terrible, I'm sorry.

raidermatt
03-16-2007, 02:17 PM
Yes, very sad. I do feel very sorry for the family.


But I don't see anything in the article that puts Disney down. They were careful to explain the extenuating circumstances in each of the cases referenced.

No, if it happened on a sidewalk in Chicago, it probably wouldn't have made the news (but occasionally stories like that do get a mention), but Disney and WDW specifically are high-profile names. They get lots of publicity, period. You have to take the bad with the good.

DancingBear
03-16-2007, 03:06 PM
</bad taste>Ironically a few more stairs earlier on might have let this gentleman the inconvenience of dying on them. Th-That's terrible, I'm sorry.It didn't say he was a fat guy, it said he had a pre-existing heart condition. Young fit athletes in their prime have dropped dead of such things.

thefirebuilds
03-16-2007, 03:10 PM
I said "Might", cranky-pants.

Wick
03-16-2007, 04:27 PM
I must have missed the part of the story where they blamed Disney.

"The death is the 10th involving Disney World rides and water-park attractions since late 2004."

The author doesn't exactly blame Disney per se, but clearly the general tone of the article did seem to go a bit out of the way to make it seem as though theres a legitmate correlation between Disney rides/attractions and 10 people dying in the last 3 years.

ASilmser
03-16-2007, 05:55 PM
Disney really should be putting this on their attractions' warning signs:

PERSONS WITH AN UNDETECTED PREEXISTING HEART CONDITION OR WHO ARE TERMINALLY ILL SHOULD NOT RIDE.

Do you think that might exempt them from criticism? I know I am being sarcastic, but why does this deserve all of this press? Millions of people pass through the gates every week without incident. I suppose the reason it is news is because it is so rare, but still, the tone of the article does make it sound like Disney is not as safe as it should be. To use these events as evidence of that is silly.

raidermatt
03-16-2007, 06:05 PM
The author doesn't exactly blame Disney per se, but clearly the general tone of the article did seem to go a bit out of the way to make it seem as though theres a legitmate correlation between Disney rides/attractions and 10 people dying in the last 3 years.


I'm sorry, but it doesn't. It's a statement of fact and there is no cause/effect relationship stated or implied.

Also, they could have ended it with the sentence you quoted, but instead covered three of the examples, listing the extenuating circumstances in each.

ASilmser
03-16-2007, 06:19 PM
It's hard to tell exactly what the tone of the article is, but I'm leaning towards believing that this author is trying to make something out of nothing. Stating only facts does not make a person exempt from showing a bias. There are some facts that may have been left out or even added that could change the color of the writing for better or worse.

For instance, what about a statement of fact which compares deaths at WDW to the average number of deaths at other tourist attractions? This would also be a statement of fact, but would guide the reader into understanding that while these types of deaths are rare, they will occur everywhere that millions of people visit. It's possible to state facts while still steering your reader in a particular direction--this is usually done by omition.

It's subtle, but it happens.

Wick
03-16-2007, 07:06 PM
I'm sorry, but it doesn't. It's a statement of fact and there is no cause/effect relationship stated or implied.

Also, they could have ended it with the sentence you quoted, but instead covered three of the examples, listing the extenuating circumstances in each.

Extenuating circumstances aside, the author notes:
It was unclear Thursday night whether the man was on his first attempt to ride the Downhill Double Dipper or had gone down the slide already.
and
The Walt Disney World Web site places the slide in the "Big Thrills" category and says visitors can "blast down the slopes at 25 miles per hour" in side-by-side speed slides.

These are both moot points unless the author is trying to, as ASilmser describes, steer the reader.

Why would it matter if the man had gone down the slide already unless you were trying to suggest that there was a correlation between the ride and his death in some exaggerated way? Why describe the extreme nature of the ride unless you were hinting at such a correlation?

These examples are unnecessary to cite unless the author was deliberately trying to materialize a legitmate correlation where none exists, which he clearly has done.

raidermatt
03-16-2007, 07:48 PM
They are only moot points if the author makes the assumption that the slide had nothing to do with the incident. While it appears that is the case, it would actually be irresponsible reporting to make that assumption. Just as it would be irresponsible to assume the slide DID cause the death if the man appeared to be healthy otherwise.

He reported that the family told Disney the man had a pre-existing heart condition, which he did not have to. He could have simply said they will await autopsy results before reaching any conclusions.

For instance, what about a statement of fact which compares deaths at WDW to the average number of deaths at other tourist attractions? This would also be a statement of fact, but would guide the reader into understanding that while these types of deaths are rare, they will occur everywhere that millions of people visit. It's possible to state facts while still steering your reader in a particular direction--this is usually done by omition.

It's subtle, but it happens.


Sure, it happens. Just not here.

The point of the article was just this one man's death, not a comparison to industry averages. By including three examples and their extenuating circumstances, he is strengthening the position that their is no correlation to the ride(s) themselves, even thought those incidents had nothing to do with this one. That could have been easily omitted to the detriment of Disney.

As I said above, we have to remember that no matter what the family told Disney, saying there was or wasn't a correlation would be irresponsible at this time. By relaying the heresay that the man had a pre-existing condition, and by citing three examples that all had extenuating circumstances, the author is implying that there has been no correlation drawn.

Yes, he could have included industry standards and comparisons, but then he also could have included the deaths at DLR over the last 8 or so years that did not have anything to do with pre-exisitng conditions (Indy, Columbia and Big Thunder).

But then the article starts becoming a major piece, and that's not their intention at this time. If it were, we'd have posters complaining about that.

The fact is, the article is very balanced. It provided the info on the slide because there is no conclusive medical evidence about what happened. But it also includes info that indicates there is no correlation, and cites past examples where there was no correlation.

DannyDisneyFreak
03-17-2007, 02:19 AM
The fact is, the article is very balanced. It provided the info on the slide because there is no conclusive medical evidence about what happened. But it also includes info that indicates there is no correlation, and cites past examples where there was no correlation.

He was walking up stairs! The info provided about the slide is irrevelant. If he died climing stairs at the Mall in his home town it would not have made the papers, maybe a trip to the Gap was to intense for his ticker. You are intitled to your opinion, you think the article was balance, fine. I just think the article didn't need to be "balanced". The fact that "The death is the 10th involving Disney World rides and water-park attractions since late 2004" is only mentioned cause it makes the story juicy. Insted of focusing the story on the poor family's loss and such ironic timing, the paper chooses to focus on Disney killing people.

NEVERENOUGHWDW
03-17-2007, 02:45 AM
People use the word Disney to position themselves for law suits.....just an opinion.

medicgirl911
03-17-2007, 08:41 AM
So in one of the articles posted it stated that the family let Disney know the person had a heart condition. What I think would be more effective, instead of making vague refrences that could or could not lead a reader to believe it's related to a Disney attraction, would be to remind readers on what symptoms of a heart attack are. (chest pain/pressure, pain radiating down the left arm, jaw/neck pain, shortness of breath, etc) Remind people that even if they are on vacation, especially those with pre-exsisting conditions, they should still be listening to their bodies, maintaining their diet, avoiding salt, drinking enough fluids, etc.

DancingBear
03-17-2007, 09:25 AM
I guess nobody got the point of my post. Things that happen at Disney get extra media attention--including lots of free positive publicity for Disney. There's hardly a vast media conspiracy against Disney.

DancingBear
03-17-2007, 09:27 AM
People use the word Disney to position themselves for law suits.....just an opinion.I guess they were really stupid to tell the company the man had a pre-existing heart condition.

Any reason to think this family is doing this? The story cites theme park officials as the source, not the family (as with the Tigger incident).

Wick
03-17-2007, 03:18 PM
There's hardly a vast media conspiracy against Disney.

Haha well I'm not suggesting that; I'm simply saying that articles like these obviously take subtle jabs at the Disney reputation... The overall tone is rooted in blame, and the author achieves this in a very "man-bites-dog" journalistic fashion.

NEVERENOUGHWDW
03-17-2007, 03:25 PM
I guess they were really stupid to tell the company the man had a pre-existing heart condition.

Any reason to think this family is doing this? The story cites theme park officials as the source, not the family (as with the Tigger incident).

"The source?" Do you believe all that is in print?:confused3

NeverEnufWDW
03-17-2007, 07:44 PM
Since when have newspaper columnists been concerned about simply conveying the STORY about ANYTHING ?

ASilmser
03-17-2007, 09:55 PM
The fact is, the article is very balanced. It provided the info on the slide because there is no conclusive medical evidence about what happened. But it also includes info that indicates there is no correlation, and cites past examples where there was no correlation.

Thanks for your comments raidermatt, I can see where you are coming from, but we'll just have to agree to dissagree. While I understand that this event may be newsworthy (as I said before, the fact that incidents like this are rare, and that Disney is supposed to be a "happy place" makes it worth noting) I think that the whole point of the article is to sensationalize something that need not be a big deal (except, of course, to the families involved).

Thanks for your input, and I only hope that the majority of the public views this story the way that you do.

Uncleromulus
03-18-2007, 05:33 AM
All the news that fits--they'll print.

DancingBear
03-18-2007, 03:08 PM
"The source?" Do you believe all that is in print?:confused3What does that have to do with anything? I don't have to "believe" anything to note that the story referred to statements from theme park officials, not the family. And the family apparently told Disney that the man had a pre-existing heart condition. So there's no reason at all to believe that the family is using the media here to set up a lawsuit.

DancingBear
03-18-2007, 03:10 PM
Haha well I'm not suggesting that; I'm simply saying that articles like these obviously take subtle jabs at the Disney reputation... The overall tone is rooted in blame, and the author achieves this in a very "man-bites-dog" journalistic fashion.If that's the case, then the writer did a horrible job of jabbing Disney, since the article clearly discloses the pre-existing conditions and such. A poor attempt at a hatchet job.

raidermatt
03-19-2007, 01:49 PM
Exactly, if this was out to get Disney, he makes Dr. Evil look like Einstein.


He was walking up stairs! The info provided about the slide is irrevelant.
Uh, no. Unlike the movies, not all deaths are instantaneous.

Thanks for your input, and I only hope that the majority of the public views this story the way that you do. Thank you as well. As for what the majority of the public thinks, I can pretty much guarantee the majority know nothing about it. Given the lack of any outcry against Disney over the weekend, its pretty safe to assume those that did read it didn't come away thinking WDW is now a death trap.

ChrisFL
03-19-2007, 05:49 PM
that's it, from now on there will be a registered nurse to give a full physical to anyone who ventures onto Disney property (of course that might not be a bad thing depending what the nurse looks like :cool1: )

Dopey420
03-20-2007, 10:57 AM
I am surprised there are not more heart attacks at the water parks. There are a lot of stairs at Blizzard beach. I am in great shape and I got seriously winded when I ran up to the top of Summit Plummet. Over the course of a day at Blizzard beach, there is a lot of stair climbing.

ChristmasElf
03-24-2007, 06:43 PM
How sad for his family...

I don't like it how it's phrased in the article saying that it is the 10th death at Disney since 2004. Everyone who passed away there, though tragic, died of a pre-exisiting condition.

I guess the media will always enjoy putting Disney down. :confused3

This is the only way that the story will get world wide attention. ;)