Walt Disney World has been sued for wrongful death by the family of a four-year-old boy who died a year ago after riding the theme park's Mission:SPACE thrill ride.
The family's lawyer, Robert Samartin, said on Wednesday."The forces employed on the ride are dangerous. We think inviting four-year-olds on the ride is dangerous in itself," Samartin said. Daudi Bamuwamye of Pennsylvania was visiting the Walt Disney Co.-owned (DIS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) park near Orlando, Florida, with his family in June of 2005 when he fell unconscious while riding the rocket simulator ride with his mother.
An autopsy by the Orange County medical examiner found that Bamuwamye suffered a cardiac arrhythmia due to an undiagnosed heart defect that placed him at risk for sudden death under stress. Samartin said the lawsuit also accuses Disney of negligence in the child's death.
He said Disney advertises itself as a leader in deployment of portable defibrillators to save people from heart arrhythmia, but failed to keep a defibrillator near Mission:SPACE, arguably the theme park's most intense ride.
Disney denied the allegations in the lawsuit, which was filed on Monday in Florida state court in Orange County."Daudi's death was a terrible loss to his loved ones and we sympathize with them.
However, we disagree with the assertions in the lawsuit," said Kim Prunty, a Disney spokeswoman. Prior to Bamuwamye's death, according to Samartin, the local Reedy Creek Fire Department paramedics had responded to 135 to 140 calls to assist Mission:SPACE riders and sent eight riders to the emergency room.