No changes to Disney policies planned after park ride death


Walt Disney World is not planning any policy changes following the death of a German tourist who became ill after taking the Mission: Space ride earlier this month.

The tourist, 49-year-old Hiltrud Bleumel, passed out with a headache while on Mission: Space. She was taken to Florida Hospital Celebration Health in Kissimmee, where she died, according to a hospital report.

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.

The death is the second within a year related to the Mission: Space ride. A 4-year-old who died last summer after taking the ride was reported to have had a rare, undiagnosed heart ailment.

Kim Prunty, a spokeswoman for Walt Disney World, said it is the parks policy to continuously monitor and evaluate all our attractions, including Mission: Space.

As with every thrill ride, Mission: Space is not appropriate for every guest, Prunty said. 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 attraction.

Amusement parks in Florida are required to file a report with the states Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection whenever a rider is hospitalized.

According to the bureau, 12 people have been hospitalized after riding Mission: Space since it opened in 2003. During the same period, Disney said 11.8 million guests have taken the ride.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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