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Parents: Toughen the rules for rides (WDW Mission:Space) - Orlando Sentinel, 9/22/05

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  • Parents: Toughen the rules for rides (WDW Mission:Space) - Orlando Sentinel, 9/22/05

    The parents of a 4-year-old who died after riding Epcot's Mission: Space want tougher thrill-ride restrictions for small children, but Disney officials are waiting for the boy's autopsy results before deciding if changes are needed.

    Moses and Agnes Bamuwamye, whose son Daudi died June 13, proposed new height restrictions in a letter their attorney sent to Disney officials last month.

    Disney rejected their request to raise the bar from 44 to 51 inches, writing two weeks ago that no evidence connects the death to the ride, according to correspondence the Pennsylvania family's attorney provided to the Orlando Sentinel.

    "Simply to make a change on no informed basis would be false solace to those affected and of no benefit to anyone else," wrote Margaret C. Giacalone of Disney's legal staff. "Further, the minimum height requirement was carefully considered, analyzed and established on the basis of a variety of factors."

    The family's lawyer, Robert A. Samartin of Tampa, wrote Disney earlier that there are no standards to determine the danger of gravitational forces experienced by anyone under 48 inches tall on an amusement-park ride.

    Without proof of safety, the theme park should not be subjecting youngsters to conditions that make some adults pass out or vomit, Samartin said Wednesday.

    "The thrust of it is -- this is really not appropriate for 4- and 5-year-old kids. This is not the Tea Cups or Dumbo ride," he said, referring to rides in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

    Daudi's cause of death awaits the outcome of tests that may not be completed until November.

    "We're waiting to hear from our expert on the result of some studies," Orange-Osceola Medical Examiner's administrator Sheri Blanton said Wednesday. "An approximate time would be another four to six weeks, but hopefully sooner."

    Previously unreleased Reedy Creek Fire/Rescue records show more than 100 responses by paramedics to Mission: Space between summer 2003 and Daudi's death.

    Those included nine people who passed out during or immediately after the ride. Eighteen others complained of temporary paralysis, particularly of the hands.

    Most common was severe dizziness, experienced by 38 riders, followed by 31 people who vomited during or after the ride.

    Almost none of the 911 calls involved anyone younger than 7, except for toddlers who tumbled out of strollers or fell in the ride's gift shop.

    The 143 reports were released by Reedy Creek Improvement District, Disney's municipal arm, under the state public-records law.
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