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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Tampa Bay

    Third Disney Employee Dies in just over a month

    I didnt see a thread on this and I would love to hear what others think. 3 is too high of a number of deaths in 7 weeks at Disney of employees I feel. Especially when 2 of them are head injuries from stunts!

    I hope OSHA really looks into this because aparently the stunts are too dangerous.


    A Walt Disney World cast member is dead after an accident Monday evening at Hollywood Studios.

    Stunt performer Anislav Varbanov, 30, was fatally injured during a rehearsal for the " Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular." He was doing a tumbling roll after 7 p.m. when he was hurt.

    Disney workers dialed 911 at 7:34 p.m. to report that a cast member sustained a head injury. Varbanov was rushed to Florida Hospital Celebration Health, where he was pronounced dead at 8:53 p.m., Orange County sheriff's deputies said.

    Varbanov was the the third cast member in seven weeks to die after sustaining injuries while working.

    Online photos show Varbanov on the set of the Pirate's Dinner Adventure attraction in the International Drive tourist corridor. A video on YouTube shows him performing a hand-balancing act with a woman during the Pirate's attraction pre-show. Monday night, a YouTube user had posted "R.I.P. ANISLAV."

    On July 5, monorail driver Austin Wuennenberg, 21, died when another train backed into his own. He tried to back his train away, but it was too late. The Orange-Osceola medical examiner's office said there were no drugs in his system, and he died of multiple traumatic injuries.

    On August 10, Mark Priest, 47, died from complications he experienced after a bad on-stage fall at the Magic Kingdom.

    Priest was performing a mock sword fight during Captain Jack's Pirate Tutorial, an interactive show in which actors lead guests through a series of pirate-skills tests, when he stumbled on a wet spot on stage and banged into a wall, his best friend said. He appeared to be improving, but died four days later.

    The Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, known colloquially as "Epic" to Disney cast members, is performed several times each day at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Disney performers don't impersonate Harrison Ford and Karen Allen, the lead actors from the original Indy film, Raiders of the Lost Ark, but instead demonstrate the types of stunts used to film Indy and Marian's adventures.

    The 30-minute show opens with a dramatic sequence in which the actor representing Indiana Jones dodges moving spikes and swings on a rope to get to a treasure. During the rest of the presentation, cast members perform acrobatics, stage fights, dodge moving aircraft and avoid pyrotechnics. The famous rolling-ball scene is also re-created.

    "We lost a valued cast member and our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family as we mourn his passing," said Disney spokeswoman Zoraya Suarez in a prepared statement.

    The show has been performed at Disney since 1989.

    Performers at the Indiana Jones show have been injured before. The year after the show's opening, Disney was fined $1,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after three were injured when equipment failed.

    One fell 30 feet onto concrete when a restraining cable didn't work properly. Another fell about 25 feet, landing on crates after a ladder he was on collapsed prematurely. The third was squeezed by a trap door that malfunctioned.

    The federal safety agency said Disney did not provide enough padding or other equipment to protect performers if they accidentally fall. Soon afterward, a fourth cast member dropped 20 feet onto concrete during rehearsal of a new routine that was supposed to be safer for performers.

    Tuesday's performances are canceled because of Varbanov's death.

    The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration as well as the Orange County Sheriff's Office have been contacted in Varbanov's death. The Sheriff's office is investigating.
    Cindi Lou

    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    OSHA fined Disney $1000?!? THAT was supposed to somehow get them on the ball to do something about this? Fined DISNEY $1000! Good Grief.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    This is one to watch, in my opinion. What will happen in September?


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Tampa Bay
    Cindi Lou

    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    As a former cast member, I think it's sad. However, things happen in spurts sometimes. Disney has an exemplary safety record and they've had a bad couple of months. This sounds like a freak accident. The monorail was pilot error. The only one that surprises me is the one from Aug. 10th, as Disney is typically incredibly conservative when it comes to their stages and water. They'll cancel parades if the pavement is wet, much less the floats and stages.

    Walt Disney World alone employs close to 60,000 people. Any death is tragic, but proportionately, the number of deaths are so low as to be almost statistically zero. They average less than 1 cast member death per year in a property that contains four major theme parks, two water parks, a huge retail complex, an five-story interactive gaming facility, over 20 resorts, a sports complex, campground, riding facilities, nine golf courses, and a racetrack!

    I think federal money can be spent better, personally. Disney has done an admirable job regulating itself. Again, I'm not saying this isn't sad, but these deaths weren't caused by equipment failure. Stuntwork is inherently dangerous. Waivers are signed and they're paid pretty well. The risk is there and always has been there.

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