An elderly Florida man with a history of heart problems died while visiting Disney World with his family after riding the PeopleMover attraction, Orlando police officials said.

Joseph Masters, an 83-year-old from Palm Coast, suffered an apparent heart attack on Sept. 25 after riding the slow-moving tram that snakes through the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland section, according to a sheriff’s report cited by Florida Politics on Tuesday.

Masters’ wife, Alice, told police her husband passed out while they were on the PeopleMover, the report said.

“She began to panic,” the sheriff’s report said. “She began asking for help and attempted to contact family members who were at the Park. As the ride came to its end, Disney staff and security responded to the scene where CPR was initiated.”

Masters was rushed to a nearby hospital in Celebration, where doctors attempted to save his life for 30 minutes but were ultimately unsuccessful. He was pronounced dead at 5:04 p.m., according to the report.

The ride loading area of the Peoplemover at Disney World Magic Kingdom.
Joseph Masters passed out on Disney World’s PeopleMover and later died.
Joni Hanebutt/Alamy
Retired Captain Joe Masters of the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue in Florida passed away on September 25, while riding the PeopleMover ride at Disney World.
Retired Capt. Joe Masters of the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue in Florida passed away on September 25 while riding the PeopleMover ride at Disney World.
Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue/Facebook

“It was later learned Joseph had a pacemaker implanted and was diagnosed with an extensive list of medical conditions to include diabetes and hypertension,” the sheriff’s report said. “Joseph’s death was deemed natural given the aforementioned circumstances.”

Masters “had a large blockage of an artery, near the right side of his heart,” according to a doctor cited in the report.

The military veteran, who was married to Alice for 49 years, had a strong Catholic faith, enjoyed spending time with his family and visiting Disney World, according to his obituary.

“He worked as a Foreman for a stage lighting company as well as serving our nation honorably in the Army National Guard at Camp Smith Military Base for 23 years,” the obituary said.

A rep for Disney World didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

People waiting in line to ride the Peoplemover at Disney World Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida.
Masters died of a heart blockage, according to a sheriff’s report.
Joni Hanebutt/Alamy
Disney World's Magic Kingdom
An elderly Florida man died while riding Disney World’s PeopleMover last month.

Masters’ death is the latest in a string of health-related incidents at the resort this quarter.

According to Disney fan blog Inside the Magic, an 83-year-old man was “briefly unresponsive” on Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney’s Animal Kingdom last month, and a 47-year-old man passed out on Epcot’s Mission: Space in July. Last month, a 59-year-old woman “sustained injury to toes” on Alien Swirling Saucers at Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios.

Additionally, a 27-year-old pregnant woman went into labor after riding the Tomorrowland Speedway at Magic Kingdom last month.

Earlier this year, a 14-year-old died after he plunged from the Orlando Free-Fall ride at ICON Park, a theme park six miles from Disney World.


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Tyler Cowan