An Oklahoma man in his mid to late 50s died on Saturday, March 24, following a one-vehicle rollover accident during the Big Meat Run off event in Disney.
According to Brian Edwards, Assistant General Manager: Chief of Law Enforcement and Lake Operations, the man was riding in a Jeep in the tail race area below Pensacola Dam, in the "nose bleed section," at approximately 3 p.m., Saturday, when the vehicle went over the side of a hill, rolled completely and then came to rest in an upright position.
The man, who was sitting in the passenger seat of the vehicle, was ejected as it rolled over. Edwards said he was taken by ambulance to St. Francis Hospital in Vinita, where he was pronounced dead. Initially, officials believed he was sitting in the back seat.
His name, and the names of the two other male occupants in the Jeep, will be released on Tuesday, March 27, according to Edwards.
While the man's family has been notified of his death, Edwards said GRDA officials were waiting to release the names due to the "tragic" nature of the incident. He did confirm the man is in his mid to late 50s, and was from Oklahoma.
One of the men in the vehicle refused treatment at the scene. He was taken by private vehicle to a local hospital. The other man did not receive any injuries.
This was the only recorded fatality for the Big Meat Run, an annual multi-day off roading event which takes place below the Pensacola Dam during the last weekend of March.
Edwards estimates there were between 10,000 and 12,000 participants, calling it a "well attended event."
Edwards said the accident remains under investigation. He said members of the GRDA police force are still collecting facts about the mid-afternoon incident.
"This is why we stress using safety equipment down there," Edwards said. "Any fatality is too many. This is just a tragic event."