Army veteran, 83, dies of a heart attack on Disney World ride while panicking wife tried to get help

Army veteran, 83, dies of a heart attack on Disney World ride while panicking wife tried to get help
Joseph Masters died of a heart attack while on a ride at Disney World while his wife, Alice, desperately sought help (Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue/Facebook; Arturo Holmes/Getty Images for Disney Dreamers Academy)

ORLANDO, FLORIDA: An elderly US Army veteran, with a history of heart problems, died after suffering a major heart attack on an iconic ride at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

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Joseph Masters, who served in the Army National Guard at Camp Smith Military Base for 23 years died on September 25 after riding a slow-moving train that runs through the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland section, a sheriff’s report cited by Florida Politics read on Tuesday, October 18. Masters' wife, Alice, told the police that she found him in an unconscious state while they were still on the PeopleMover.

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“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 an end, park staffers and security responded to the scene where CPR was initiated.”


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After the tireless efforts by the theme park staffers, Masters was rushed to a nearby hospital, where medical experts kept him alive for around 30 minutes but failed to save his life. The sheriff’s report stated the doctors pronounced him dead around 5:04 pm. The doctors ruled Masters’ death as natural and added that he "had a large blockage of an artery, near the right side of his heart."

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


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Mourning the death of his loving husband of 49 years, Alice said, "I tell everybody now that my husband died in his happy place because he loved Disney." According to his obituary, he initially worked as foreman for stage lighting company and was a staunch catholic. “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 read.

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Expressing their condolences, the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Rescue wrote, "This morning we joined our department in saying goodbye to Captain Joe Masters. We are forever grateful for his six decades of service to the fire service, and twenty years here in Palm Coast. Joe was one of a kind, he was a kind-hearted soul through and through. He will be forever missed."

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Masters' death is the latest addition in a string of health-related incidents at the resort this quarter. Earlier, in July, another 83-year-old man was found unresponsive on the Avatar Flight of Passage at Disney's Animal Kingdom. In September, the Alien Swirling Saucers at Toy Story Land gave a 59-year-old woman an "injury to toes." Also in September, a 27-year-old pregnant woman went into labor after riding the Tomorrowland Speedway.

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