Last week, 30-year-old Anislav Varbanov, a stunt performer at Disney Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida, died when he broke his neck while rehearsing for a stunt show. The Orlando Sentinel story reports that the performer was practicing a tumble roll for the popular Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular. The Orange-Osceola County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death due to a cervical spine fracture in Varbanov’s neck.
A spokeswoman for Disney, Zoraya Suarez , stated that the tumble roll was a common maneuver which had been performed many times in the show without injury. One employee said he was told that Varbanov landed awkwardly on his neck during the rehearsal.
This is the third incident in two months at the popular Florida amusement park. A week prior to this incident, Mark Priest, a 47-year-old actor at Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial in the Magic Kingdom, was injured after stumbling into a wall.
During the 4th of July weekend, 21-year-old monorail operator Austin Wuennenberg was killed in a monorail collision. The Sheriff’s Office is also investigating these other accidents. While the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigates each incident for patterns, Disney has said that each of these cases is unique and there is no link between them.
Since 2007, the OSHA has started 17 investigations, including the three mentioned this year, but only had three investigations in the previous five years. While no guests were injured in these three recent incidents, this wave of accidents in the past two months still presents a concern to the millions of guests and children who visit Disney’s theme parks in the summertime. Investigators must do their best to see that, whether these incidents were separate or related, the appropriate measures are taken so that both employees and guests are assured that Disney continues to operate its facilities with the utmost safety.