ORLANDO, Fla. – A 12-year-old girl died Thursday evening after passing out at the wave pool at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, marking the third time in three months that a young person has suddenly fallen critically ill while visiting Walt Disney World.

The girl was sitting by herself on one of the simulated islands that dot the water park’s wave pool about 6 p.m. when a lifeguard approached her to check on her, said Crystal Candy, a spokeswoman with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

The child, who was visiting with cousins and an aunt from Newport News, Va., told the lifeguard she was fine and asked to be left alone. But when she stood up, she immediately passed out and the lifeguard signaled for help. Employees dialed 911 and monitored the girl’s vital signs, Disney spokeswoman Kim Prunty said.

The girl’s pulse stopped and she stopped breathing, so lifeguards began cardiopulmonary resuscitation. But it was too late.

Reedy Creek Fire Rescue transported the girl to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where she was pronounced dead, Candy said. “It is mysterious,” she said. She would not identify the girl pending notification of her parents, who were not on the trip. The girl was out of the water when she fell ill.

Bo Jones, a spokesman for Reedy Creek Fire Rescue, called the incident “baffling.” Officials did not know what the girl was doing before lifeguards approached her. Family members, who were nearby when the lifeguard first approached her, told deputies the 12-year-old has no known medical conditions.

Jones said paramedics followed established procedures in their attempts to revive the girl.

Thursday’s incident is the third sudden critical illness of a young person visiting Walt Disney World in three months. It is the second fatality.

On June 13, Daudi Bamuwamye, 4, of Pennsylvania collapsed on Epcot’s Mission: Space ride and later died. Inspections showed no signs of ride malfunction, and investigators are awaiting results of a medical examiner’s report. On July 12, Leanne Deacon, 16, of Kibworth, England, suffered cardiac arrest shortly after exiting Disney-MGM Studio’s Twilight Zone Tower of Terror thrill ride. A CT scan after her collapse showed she was bleeding in her brain.


Although Leanne complained of leg cramps and headaches before her collapse, her mother, June Deacon, told deputies that she too had no known medical conditions.

Leanne remained in critical condition Thursday at Florida Hospital Orlando. Family members have not disclosed further information.

Officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture Bureau of Fair Rides Inspection and Disney found the Tower of Terror operated properly.

The 61-acre Typhoon Lagoon simulates the remains of a Caribbean island village battered by storms. A vast surfing lagoon creates what the park advertises as “one of the world’s largest artificially created waves for body surfing,” according to one company description.


A Disney company official was dispatched to Florida Hospital Celebration Health to tend to the family’s needs. Disney spokeswoman Prunty expressed condolences on behalf of her company.

“Our first thought is for the girl’s family,” Prunty said.

(c) 2005, The Orlando Sentinel (Fla.).

Visit the Sentinel on the World Wide Web at http://www.orlandosentinel.com/. On America Online, use keyword: OSO.

Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services.

AP-NY-08-05-05 1406EDT

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