ORLANDO) ― A 44-year-old man died after being pulled unresponsive from a Walt Disney World roller coaster Tuesday, marking the first incident of a troubled ride since the deaths of two people who rode Epcot's Mission Space ride.
Jeffery Reed, of Navarre, Fla., showed no visible signs of trauma, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. He appeared to be conscious up to the last seconds before the ride ended.
Inspectors found the ride, Animal Kingdom's Expedition Everest, was working properly, but Disney kept it closed pending further review.
Deputies said Reed appeared to be conscious 50 seconds before the ride ended, because his photograph was taken then. He was administered CPR by Reedy Creek Emergency Services and pronounced dead at Celebration Hospital.
Authorities are investigating if Reed had a previous medical condition, said Jim Solomons, spokesman for the sheriff's office. An autopsy was scheduled.
"We offer the family our deepest sympathies and will provide assistance to them during this difficult time," Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger said.
Everest debuted in 2006, simulating a runaway train ride through the Himalayas. Riders meet a giant animatronic yeti, traveling both forward and back to avoid the monster and the train tracks it mangled.
Everest has a 44-inch height requirement. Pregnant women and visitors with high blood pressure, heart, back and neck problems are warned not to ride.
It was Disney's first big-ticket ride since Epcot's Mission:Space, which had been the park's biggest source of trouble in this area. Two people died after riding Space, though both had pre-existing health conditions. Disney has since built a tamer version of the ride.
Everest was noticeably less thrilling from the start. Mission:Space is equipped with vomit bags, and puts riders through a force two times that of gravity on a simulated trip to Mars. Everest has an 80-foot drop, but doesn't turn riders upside down.
Prior to Tuesday's death, at least 15 people had died at Disney's theme parks in Florida and California since 1989, some with previous health conditions.
|Liveleak on Facebook|