In an update to yesterday’s tragic story, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the 44-year old man apparently suffered a heart attack while on the Expedition Everest roller coaster attraction. It’s not clear if a portable heart defibrillators or AED would have helped the victim, however, the article points out that no device was available at the scene. This despite the recent roll out of additional defibrillators after Disney announced that AEDs had saved over 60 lives at its parks and cruise lines. Apparently there were just two defibrillators in the park. The paramedics who arrived on scene brought one of their own.
[the] death is not the first associated with an apparent heart attack at a Disney theme-park location lacking a defibrillator since the company began its program. In 2005, a 4-year-old boy with an undetected heart disease died of a heart attack after riding the Mission: Space ride at Epcot. The family sued, and one of the allegations was that Disney had not placed a defibrillator near enough to that ride. Disney and the family eventually settled the lawsuit for undisclosed terms.
I debated posting this angle of the story until I read that paragraph and remembered the 2005 incident. As I am unaware of any global shortage of AEDs, I think that one year is enough time for Disney to make sure there are defibrillators and other specialized equipment located near all ‘E-ticket’ attractions or any attraction that has a heart condition warning on it. Again, there is probably no way to know if it would have made a difference in this case, but in the future, it would be nice to have the opportunity to try.
Expedition Everest re-opened with the park this morning. This is the fourth attraction related death in 2007 at the Walt Disney World theme parks. (Link)