The four-year-old boy who died after riding the Mission: SPACE attraction at Walt Disney World's Epcot in June had a rare, undetected heart condition that killed him, the chief medical examiner of Florida's Orange County concluded in a just-released autopsy report. According to UPI, the examiner determined that Daudi Bamuwamye could have died anytime from the idiopathic myocardial hypertrophy that enlarged and damaged his heart. At the time of the incident, the medical examiner's autopsy did not indicate any trauma. Mission: SPACE, which I consider to be among Disney's finest achievements, is a highly themed attraction that uses spinning centrifuges and motion simulator trickery to conjure a journey to Mars. In other news, the New York Times reports that roller coasters may trigger abnormal heart rhythms in riders with heart disease.
German scientists that conducted a roller coaster study concluded that psychological stress, more than G forces or the actual ride experience, appeared to spike heart rates and cause arrhythmia. The study's author, Dr. Jurgen Kuschyk, cautioned individuals with heart conditions about riding coasters. "For healthy people, I don't see any problem," he said.
Mission: SPACE Photo Gallery
Six Flags Roller Coaster Safety Study