Boy's family sues Disney for death after Mission: Space ride

Posted Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:13 AM | Contributed by Jeff

The family of a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy who died after riding Epcot’s “Mission: Space” has filed a wrongful death suit against Walt Disney World. The family of Daudi Bamuwamye filed suit Tuesday in Orange County Circuit Court seeking unspecified damages. The suit, filed on the anniversary of the boy’s death, alleges Disney did not properly warn the public of hazards associated with the ride, should not have allowed such a small boy on the ride and should have done more to help after Bamuwamye became unconscious after riding, according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel. Disney stands by its ride and says the medical examiner found a pre-existing condition.

Read more from AP via The News-Press.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:15 AM
Jeff's avatar The death of the boy is very sad. No one should have to lose a child. That said, I think Disney needs to draw a line here. This kid could have died anywhere. A kid from my high school died of the same thing playing basketball. It sucks, but suing the park won't bring him back, and it won't change the fact that it could have happened anywhere.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 9:30 AM
Well, the warnings are plentiful so I don't buy that argument. But, I think it is telling that after two deaths Disney chose to "tame" the ride by turning down/off one of the centrifuges. This could be an interesting lawsuit to follow.
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 10:30 AM
I suspect they are drawing the line---that's why the lawsuit was filed. My understanding is that, in most injury cases, the mouse pays up well before this point to keep things quiet.

As for taming it down---I think that has less to do with safety, and more to do with the fact that it's bad business for a 3 year old, $100M attraction to be a walk-on late afternoon any time of year, let alone when the resorts are charging spring break rates. The last time I was at WDW in early Mar '06, they were literally giving away fastpasses to M:S at Test Track. I believe the new version was to increase traffic to the attraction, and by all reports I've read, it's worked.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 11:58 AM
Its sad, but this is just bitter parents going for a big payday over their sons death. That is almost as said as the death itself...
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 12:41 PM
Has anyone ever read the amazing book Mouse Tales? It's a hilarious history of Disneyland and full of stuff the mouse tries to keep quiet. There is a chapter on the lawsuits Disneyland has had. At any given moment there are 50 pending lawsuits against the one park alone. But, if you file suit against them you have something like a 1-2% of winning in court. (They will quickly and quietly settle anything they feel is a legit claim)
Wednesday, June 14, 2006 1:12 PM
Eh. Not the parents fault. Lawyers always wait around like vultures to pounce on opportunities like this and milk parks for cash --- they can easily convince a family in mourning and desperation to get some money from the park as "payment for the loss of their kid" by manipulating them to think it was all the park's fault and that they should be "reimbursed" in some kind of way.

America and its legal system. Gotta love it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006 7:59 PM
^ Exactly, blood-sucking lawyers still choose to distort the facts and actual causes for personal gain (yep, the American way!):

See a doctor if you have been seriously injured on a roller coaster or other amusement park ride. In addition, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights concerning brain injuries from roller coasters.

*** This post was edited by jomo 6/14/2006 8:05:41 PM ***

Thursday, June 15, 2006 1:44 PM
Kenmei's avatar I completely agree with Jeff. It's very sad that a life was lost. But starting this lawsuit will not bring the boy back. It's terrible that this happened.

I have never actually been on the ride ( haven't been down there since 96). I'm sure there is no shortage of warning and signage. Disney doesn't mess around with stuff like that...someone who has been there can probably back that up.

It will indeed be interesting to follow.

Thursday, June 15, 2006 5:30 PM
took em long enough...
Thursday, June 15, 2006 11:05 PM
I was on it back in '04, and I'd say there are no less than 4 occasions in the preliminary lead-up to the ride where they warn you about the forces and the potential for ill effects. They also allow you to leave at any time during the lead-up which lasts at least half an hour until you actually board the ride. So I don't see how anybody can say they weren't warned.

What's interesting is that when I was there with friends, their daughter was 4 years old and probably of the acceptable height. But my friends said no way is she ready to handle a ride like that. These same friends, my brother, and other people I know with small kids have opted to keep their young kids off of coasters and other rides, even though the "ruler" said it's OK for them to ride. I applaud them for that. It just seems so many people abandon their parental instincts because of pressure from their kids or what society tells them they should be doing.

Friday, June 16, 2006 1:54 AM
Just another example of our sue happy world. If the ride didn't fail and the operators did everything they needed to, then I don't think anyone should have a case. Should Disney make everyone get a CAT scan and physical before they enter or something?
Friday, June 16, 2006 3:45 PM
While some of it may be greedy parents, I wonder if it isn't also guilt: if a court finds Disney responsible, or Disney settles, it suggests the parents weren't wrong in taking a small child on the ride, that Disney was wrong in not having higher height/weight/age requirements and the parents didn't need to have been more responsible and concerned about their child's well-being.
Friday, June 16, 2006 11:38 PM
rollergator's avatar ^ That is REALLY insightful...and it takes a lot to make ME think... ;)Seriously, though, how many of us are walking around with medical conditions that SHOULD preclude us from engaging in various kinds of "leisure activities", but since we don't know about them, we continue on blissfully ignorant...I feel really bad for all parties involved, no one builds a ride, or rides a ride, thinking of this potential outcome... :(I think Disney's changes to the ride experience show that they appreicate the fact that the ride is indded quite intense, not necessarily *forceful*,. but with SUSTAINED intensity. bill, still a little surprised the ride's duration wasn't shortened a bit as well... *** This post was edited by rollergator 6/16/2006 11:42:37 PM ***

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