Sunday, February 3, 2008

Disney Performer Killed By Parade Float

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A costumed worker dressed as the character Pluto was killed after being run over and killed by a Walt Disney World float during an afternoon parade Wednesday, according to Local 6 News.

Javier Cruz, 38, of Orlando was killed in a backstage area
of the Magic Kingdom, near the Splash Mountain ride, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Cruz had worked at the park for eight years, officials said.Disney spokeswoman Rena Langley said Cruz wastoward the end of the parade and was about to enter the park when he was hit. Langley said she wasn't sure if any visitors witnessed what happened."To my knowledge there has never been an accident like this before," Langley said. "Clearly, it's a difficult and tragic day for all of us."The Orange County Sheriff's Office was investigating, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also was sending an investigator."The investigation shows it to be accidental," said Carlos Torres, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office. Donna-Lynne Dalton, recording secretary for Teamsters Local 385, which represents costumed workers at Disney World, said at this point it appears all rules were being followed during the parade."It's just a horrible, horrible tragedy," Dalton said.The last time a worker died at Walt Disney World was in 1999 when a part-time employee who had been working in the loading area of the Magic Kingdom Skyway fell to his death. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration later fined Walt Disney World $4,500 for what it called a "serious" violation of safety standards. The ride was closed later that year.Cruz's death occurred as Disney chairman and CEO Michael Eisner and other top executives were at the resort for a conference with investment analysts. Cable television giant Comcast Corp. made a surprise bid Wednesday to buy The Walt Disney Co. for more than $54 billion.Watch Local 6 News for more on this breaking news story.

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