Welcome to Theme Park Insider! Join the community or log in
Theme Park Insider
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email Newsletter

Man dies while riding Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom

2007-12-18

By Iris Hernandez: A 44-year old man has died after riding Expedition Everest at Disney's Animal Kingdom today. The man, who has not yet been publicly identified, was unresponsive and unconscious when his ride vehicle returned to the unload area sometime this morning. Disney called in Reedy Creek emergency services and the man was taken to the Celebration Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Disney officials said the ride was inspected this morning and was operating properly, according to an Orlando Sentinel report. Right now, of course, the roller coaster is closed until Disney officials reconfirm the ride's status. A spokesperson said that they offer the family their deepest condolences and promised to offer assistance.

No further information is availabe at this time, but, go to OrlandoSentinel.com for what I am sure will be updates to this very sad story.

On a sidenote: Orlando had a fairly cold morning today, perhaps that played a minor part in his death. I personally didn't think it was possible for a person to die while riding this ride and again was extremely shocked to hear this news.

Update: Man ID'd as Jeffery Reed, of Navarre, Fla.

Update 2: Man was mis-ID'd: Jeffery C. Reeb of Navarre, Fla. died of dilated cardiomyopathy, a heart abnormality.

Readers' Opinions

From David Graham on December 18, 2007 at 3:28 PM
I'm sure when it's all said and done, he'll die of some unknow heart/health condition as most people seem to find out after a story like this comes out. Sad, but makes me wonder how people don't know about these issues.. Guess they never go to the doctor for physicals... IF this turns out to be the case, such as so many are....
From rafael g on December 18, 2007 at 3:30 PM
no matter what, this is sad. but it seems that Disney has no fault in this. i feel sorry for the family to go through this before the holidays.
From Iris Hernandez on December 18, 2007 at 5:42 PM
It probably was some unknown heart condition or something along those lines. Maybe the man, since he was only 44 thought he was perfectly healthy and didnt see a need to go see a doctor. Lesson to be learned here definetly.Of course Disney is not at fault here at all, but i am glad that they are still offering some assistance to the family. And I was seriously shocked to hear this one, believe me. Really sucks since it is before the holidays, my deepest condolences to that family as well. I'll definetely add them to my prayers tonight.
From robert miller on December 18, 2007 at 6:34 PM
A lot of conditions are not detectable from ordinary physicals.
From Rob P on December 19, 2007 at 2:36 AM
I'm sure that I speak for all of us on TPI when I send my heartfelt condolences to the family.

It's a tragic accident and at a particularly difficult time.

From Mitchell Botwin on December 19, 2007 at 6:03 AM
The current story on the Orlandosentinal.com site stresses that there was not a defibrillator available. The paper said "There reportedly were at least two in Animal Kingdom on Tuesday, including one at a first-aid station on Discovery Island, a couple hundred yards away from the Everest ride, and one on a mobile cart." which may set up Disney for another lawsuit. The young boy who had a bad heart and died while on Mission Space had sued Disney and settled out of court.
From daniel sears on December 19, 2007 at 7:53 AM
how scary.....who would have thaught a ride like that can cause such accidents?. let's take in to acount though....we're not sure of what the man's health was like before the ride, even how he was seated in the car. yeah....cold could have contributed, but i really think we need more information to come to a proper conclution
From Domenik Jost on December 19, 2007 at 11:11 AM
I just checked the Orlando Sentinel website and the new headline for this story is "Man who died on Disney roller coaster misidentified".
The man's actual name is Jeffery Chalmers Reeb of Navarre, Florida. No definite cause of death has been released.
From David Graham on December 19, 2007 at 12:26 PM
UPDATE from Orlando Sentinel on cause of death

The 44-year-old man who died after suffering an apparent heart attack on Walt Disney World's Expedition Everest ride was suffering from an enlarged heart and had a history of heart arrhythmias. The District Nine Medical Examiner's Office said Jeffery C. Reeb, of Navarre, Fla., died of dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that in this case had no known cause.
The medical examiner's office said the condition is a heart abnormality, and Reeb was considered to have died of natural causes.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/business/orl-everest1907dec19,0,7220436.story

From claudia maffei on December 20, 2007 at 1:39 PM
UPDATE= I heard this on the radio this morning. The man had prior health problems and they were the cause of his death. The ride is back opened. I think the scariest thing about any ride is the not knowing what is going to happen or how long it is. The first time on some of the rides everest included for me I took a xanax first. I freaked out on Mission Space at Disney because of the closed space and I am not closterphobic ( however you spell it ). We just went to Disneyworld and rode everest 8 times. My son is autistic and loved it and wanted to go again and again. It goes backwards as well as forward. We went in the day and nighttime over Thanksgiving week. My son is small and handicapped and loved it as well as my 16 year old. It is very safe and a smooth ride. Scary the first time like any ride you don't know. I always ask how long each ride is the first time and know if I am scared it will only last a couple of minutes of my life. That helps some. The older I get the more I loose my nerve.

This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.