Archive for Saturday, August 6, 2005

Latest death at Disney park not from trauma

Autopsy shows girl didn’t die from physical injury

August 6, 2005

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— Jerra Kirby, the 12-year-old girl who collapsed while visiting Walt Disney World's Typhoon Lagoon Thursday and died, did not suffer a physical injury before her death, according to an autopsy conducted Friday morning.

The autopsy "revealed no signs of trauma," said Steve Hanson, chief investigator of the district medical examiner's office.

"The cause of death is pending additional testing," Hanson said. "There was nothing that stood out as being the cause of death, anatomically. She didn't die from physical injury. That's what trauma is."

It could now take four to six weeks or more to conduct the more sophisticated testing required to determine the cause of death, Hanson said.

Jerra died after passing out at the wave pool at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon. She was with a group of relatives from Newport News, Va. It was the third time in three months that a young person has suddenly fallen critically ill while visiting Disney.

Guests at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, left, head through the turnstiles into the park past a wall outlining the parks rules on Friday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. A 12-year-old Virginia girl died Thursday after collapsing at a wave pool in a Disney World water park - the third time in two months a child has died or become critically ill at the resort.

Guests at Disney's Typhoon Lagoon, left, head through the turnstiles into the park past a wall outlining the parks rules on Friday in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. A 12-year-old Virginia girl died Thursday after collapsing at a wave pool in a Disney World water park - the third time in two months a child has died or become critically ill at the resort.

Florida's chief investigator for rides and attractions said today that Walt Disney World reported the death of a 12-year-old girl to the state because of the "serious nature" of the incident, but the Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection likely will not investigate.

"From all we know at the moment it does not appear to be ride-related," said Allan Harrison, chief investigator. The agency inspects water parks along with fairs and small attractions, but Disney and other major parks are exempt by state law, Harrison said.

Disney asked the state to check out the Tower of Terror ride in July when a teen from Britain collapsed and was hospitalized with bleeding in the brain after riding the simulated elevator ride. The ride was found to be operating normally.

In June, a Pennsylvania boy collapsed on Epcot's Mission: Space ride and later died. Disney's inspections showed no signs of ride malfunction.

Disney and other large water-park operators such as SeaWorld do file incident reports with the state, Harrison said, when water-park incidents are serious enough to warrant a trip to a hospital, just as the parks do for mechanical rides.

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