Ohio Woman Who Died During Roller Coaster Ride Suffered Torn Artery: Coroner

An Ohio woman who passed out during a roller coaster ride and later died had suffered a torn artery due to the force, resulting in heavy internal bleeding, a coroner has determined.

Dawn R. Jankovic, 47, of Brunswick, was found unresponsive on June 4 after riding the “Voyage” ride alongside her 17-year-old son in the Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari Park located in Santa Claus, Indiana, WGN-TV reported.

Paramedics associated with the theme park rendered her first aid before rushing her to a hospital, where she was declared dead. The exact cause of her death was pending an autopsy report, which was released Wednesday.

An Indiana coroner determined the cause of her death to be exsanguination (internal bleeding), avulsion of the right internal thoracic artery, and the effects of the roller coaster, WDRB-TV reported.

“It had nothing to do with the ride itself, but it basically was just the force,” Dubois County Coroner Katie Schuck said to The Indianapolis Star. “It was just a reaction her body had from riding the ride … It had nothing to do with a malfunction or anything, as far as safety and that type of thing.”

Jancovic was an employee at the University Hospitals. According to her son, Gunnar, the mom-son duo enjoyed taking roller coaster rides. “She was a hard-working mom … She tried her best to support me in all different ways,” the boy told Tristate. 

“I feel bad. This kid witnessed everything and he was there by himself before I could actually get to him,” Jankovic’s husband, Gary Merker, told the station.

The staff at Holiday World examined the roller coaster following the mishap but did not find any technical glitch, officials had said in a Facebook post. “A full inspection of the roller coaster has been performed, and it was determined that the ride operated as it was intended to,” officials wrote in the post.

The ride remained shuttered for the rest of the day in honor of Jankovic, according to WGN-TV. Schuck ruled Jankovic’s death an accident,  WAVE-TV reported.

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