Personal Injury

Disney worker receives traumatic brain injury and dies after being hit by roller coaster

A Walt Disney World employee died Monday from complications related to a traumatic brain injury he received while performing maintenance work on one of the roller coasters in the Animal Kingdom section of the amusement park.

Russel Roscoe, 52, of Webster, Florida, was working on repairs to the Primeval Whirl ride, a mild roller coaster with seats that spin in the DinoLand USA section, when the incident occurred. The ride had been taken out of operation for refurbishment while Roscoe and other workers repaired it.

According to the 911 call made by another worker, Mr. Roscoe was struck by “a moving vehicle” while working on the “little dip” part of the ride. The worker who made the call to 911 described the injured man as “barely conscious,” struggling to breathe, and bleeding heavily at the time of the phone call. Mr. Roscoe complained of a head injury to emergency personnel, who decided to airlift him to Orlando Regional medical Center. He was listed in critical condition on Monday afternoon. Roscoe succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead later in the day.

Walt Disney World released the following statement:

“Our Walt Disney World community has experienced a tragic loss. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Russ Roscoe’s family and we are working to assist them during this difficult time; our thoughts and our prayers are with them. Our thoughts are also with Russ’ fellow cast members and the first responders who came to his aid. We deeply appreciate all their efforts. There is no higher priority than the safety of our cast and our guests, and we will work with authorities to thoroughly review every aspect of this incident.”

Roscoe’s death is the second fatality associated with the same ride. In 2007, 63-year-old Karen Price, another Disney cast member, died five days after being struck by a roller coaster vehicle while she was working on an elevated loading platform.

Following Price’s death, the park installed sensors in the Primeval Whirl ride to help prevent a similar accident from happening. In 2008, Occupational Safety and Health investigators fined Disney $21,000 for the circumstances contributing to Price’s death. OSHA investigations of the factors that caused Mr. Roscoe’s death are reportedly underway.