Walt Disney World is not planning any
policy changes following the death of Hiltrud Bleumel, a German tourist who became ill on Epcot's
Mission: Space ride April 12. But,
according to Kim Prunty, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney World, it is
the policy of the park to continuously monitor and evaluate all our
attractions, including Mission: Space. After an inspection that
found the ride to be operating properly, the ride reopened the
As with every thrill ride, Mission: Space is not
appropriate for every guest, Prunty told TravelWeekly.com. That is
why we go to such great lengths to educate our guests about whether
the attraction is appropriate for them. There are 13 signs in the
queue area that advise guests with a variety of conditions -- like
high blood pressure, neck or back injuries -- not to ride the
ill while on the ride, according to a report from Florida Hospital
Celebration in Kissimmee, Fla., where she later died.
Orange County Medical Examiner's office said an autopsy report will
not be available for several weeks, an investigative narrative from
the hospital said that Bleumel passed out with a headache while on
the ride and then exhibited blurred speech and a drooping face when
she got off the ride. She became unresponsive and was transported
to the hospital by ambulance. The hospital reported that there was
no trauma to the patient. She had a history of hypertension and had
not been taking her medicine, according to the report.
This was the
second death on the ride since it opened in 2003. A four-year-old who died last summer after taking the
ride was reported to have a rare, undiagnosed heart ailment. An
Orlando Sentinel study from June 2005 said 143 people who had taken
the ride had then sought medical attention.
Disney World has to the State of Florida
Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection 12 cases of people who were
hospitalized after taking the ride.
Since the ride
opened in 2003, 11.8 million rides have been given.
reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].