Autopsy: Boy who died after Disney ride had heart defect
Michael Russell died Thursday after riding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney-MGM in Orlando, Florida.
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- The boy who collapsed and died after riding a Disney roller coaster ride may have had a congenital heart abnormality, according to preliminary autopsy findings released Friday.
"No evidence of injury was found, but congenital heart abnormalities were detected which will be further evaluated," the report from the District Nine Medical Examiner's office said. "The cause of death will be left pending until results of additional studies are obtained."
Michael Russell, 12, of Fort Campbell, Kentucky, collapsed after riding the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster ride at Disney-MGM theme park in Orlando, Florida, Thursday morning, Sgt. Carlos Torres said. (Watch the details of what happened after the roller coaster stopped -- 2:39)
Russell's father began administering CPR and was later aided by a Disney assistant, but the boy was not responsive. Russell was then transported by ambulance to Celebration Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
The Rock 'n' Roller Coaster re-opened Friday morning.
"Walt Disney World engineers and ride system engineers completed a thorough inspection of the attraction overnight and found it to be operating properly," said Disney World spokeswoman Kim Prunty in a statement.
Another park spokesman, Jacob DiPietre, said, "Our thoughts and prayers remain with the Russell family in the wake of their son's passing."
Disney boasts of the ride on its Web site: "Zoom from zero to 60 mph with the force of a supersonic F-14, take in high-speed loops and turns synchronized to a specially recorded Aerosmith soundtrack and zip through Tinseltown in the biggest, loudest limo you've ever seen."
It adds: "The 3,400-foot-long track is more than a half mile of sudden accelerations, dips, loops and twists and turns."
Children shorter than 4 feet are not permitted on the ride, according to the Web site.
The most recent previous death at a Disney resort was on April 12, when 49-year-old Hiltrud Bluemel of Germany suffered a stroke linked to high blood pressure after riding the attraction Mission: Space at Epcot Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Five months before that, a 4-year-old boy died from a previously undetected heart condition on the same ride.
The ride simulates astronomical adventures such as a rocket launch and a mission to Mars. A milder version of the attraction was made available as an alternative in May.
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