Disney Mission: Space rider dies after falling ill

Published April 13, 2006

MIAMI - A 49-year-old woman died a day after becoming ill after riding Mission: Space at Walt Disney World's Epcot Center in Orlando.

The woman became ill after getting off the rocket ship ride Tuesday afternoon and was taken to Celebration Hospital, where she died Wednesday, Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.

Her identity and hometown were not immediately released by Disney, and a spokeswoman for the hospital said she had no information about her available.

Mission: Space is a ride so intense that it has motion sickness bags. Several riders have been treated for chest pain.

"We have closed the attraction to reconfirm proper operation of the ride," Prunty said. The state Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection will monitor an inspection of the ride, Disney officials said.

The $100-million ride, one of Disney World's most popular, spins riders in a centrifuge that subjects them to twice the force of gravity. It was closed in June 2005 after the death of a 4-year-old Pennsylvania boy, but reopened after company engineers concluded it was operating normally.

Daudi Bamuwamye of Sellersville, Pa., did not meet the ride's minimum 44-inch height limit, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

An autopsy concluded that the boy succumbed to an irregular heartbeat linked to natural causes. A warning sign with the ride in 2004 read: "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 can be aggravated by this adventure."