12-year-old boy died after riding the Rock 'N' Roller Coaster at
the Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando at
approximately 11:30 a.m. on June 29.
The boy, Michael
Russell from Fort Campbell, Ky., was riding with his seven-year-old
brother and his parents, according to the Orange County Sheriffs
Office. After getting off the ride he collapsed. His father began
CPR and MGM staff called rescue services. The Reedy Creek Fire
Rescue squad arrived and took Russell to Celebration Hospital,
where he was pronounced dead.
On June 30, the
District Nine Medical Examiner's office released a statement on the
results of an autopsy performed on 12-year-old Michael Russell
stating: "No evidence of injury was found, but
congenital heart abnormalities were detected, which will be further
evaluated. The cause of death will be left pending until results of
the additional studies are obtained."
Walt Disney World has closed the ride to
conduct an investigation, according to a statement from the company.
While an initial review of the ride uncovered no malfunction, it is
not known when the ride will reopen. Walt Disney World notified
Orange County law enforcement authorities and the Florida Bureau of
Fair Rides Inspections, which will participate in the investigation
into the operation of the roller coaster.
The Rock 'N' Roller
Coaster starring Aerosmith is designed to simulate an imaginary
wild ride on the Los Angeles Freeway system in cars designed to
resemble early-1960s Cadillacs. The Disney-MGM Studios Web site
claims that riders zoom from 0-60 mph with the
force of a supersonic F-14, take in high-speed loops and turns
synchronized to a specially recorded Aerosmith soundtrack and zip
through Tinseltown in the biggest, loudest limo youve ever
The site also posts a
disclaimer that tells riders, For safety, you
should be in good health and free from high blood pressure, heart,
back or neck problems, motion sickness, or other conditions that
could be aggravated by this adventure. Expectant mothers should not
Russells death is the
second in as many months, following the death of a 49-year-old
German tourist, Hiltrud Bleumel,
April12 after riding the Mission: Space
death was 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. After the second Mission:
Space incident in April, Disney introduced a milder version of the
contact the reporter who wrote this article, send e-mail to David
Cogswell at [email protected].