Main | Sunday, July 05, 2009

Monorail Crash At Disney Kills Driver

Two monorail trains collided at Walt Disney World in Orlando this morning, killing the driver of one of the trains.
Walt Disney World spokesman Mike Griffin said the crash happened at about 2 a.m. Sunday, on one of the monorail's last runs of the day. Austin Wenneberg, 21, a Disney employee who was piloting one of the monorails died at the scene of the accident, the Orange County Sheriff's Office said. One other employee was transported to Florida Hospital Celebration. The second driver's injuries were not serious, Griffin said. The trains were transporting guests leaving Epcot. Six park guests were on the train during the crash, and were evaluated by paramedics at the scene according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office. The park was operating normally Sunday, except for the closure of the monorail. Guests, who were being directed to buses instead, did not seem deterred by the accident.
This is the first monorail fatality in the Orlando park's 38-year history, although there has been at least one such death at Disneyland in California. Over 50 million people ride the monorail at the Orlando parks every year. The "trains" are essentially elevated electric buses that ride on rubber tires astride a concrete beam. Since they don't have any risk of hitting ground vehicles, unlike a conventional train, they are not built to withstand collisions well.

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