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Monorail crash at Epcot kills driver - Disney make statement

Discussion in 'Walt Disney World News & Rumors' started by eeyoreguy, Jul 5, 2009.

  1. eeyoreguy
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    eeyoreguy Earning my ears

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    The driver of a Walt Disney World monorail was killed when two monorails collided early Sunday.

    Witnesses said the monorails collided at the Epcot station around 2 a.m. Sunday as guests were leaving the park after a Fourth of July fireworks show.
    According to witnesses, one monorail just slammed into the back of the other. The monorails involved were the pink and purple trains, according to Local 6 in Orlando; pink was moving and hit purple, which was stationary.


    Fire officials said the driver was pronounced dead on the the scene, and the other driver had been taken to the hospital. There was no immediate explanation as to what caused the wreck. There has been no word of any other injuries, or how many people were aboard the monorails at the time of the wreck but witnesses suggested that several guests may have been treated for minor injuries.

    Disney made the following statement
    "Today, we mourn the loss of our fellow cast member. Our hearts go out to his family and those who have lost a friend and coworker. The safety of our guests and cast members is always our top priority. The monorail is out of service and we will continue to work closely with law enforcement to determine what happened and the appropriate next steps to take."


    Although this was the first fatal monoratil accident in its history, there have been other incidents:
    1974

    A monorail train crashed into the train ahead of it, injuring a driver and two guests.

    June 26, 1985
    A fire engulfed the rear car of a monorail train in transit from Epcot to the Transportation and Ticket Center. The train was carrying 240 passengers, 40 of whom were in the burning car.

    Passengers in the car kicked out side windows and climbed around the side of the train to reach the roof, where they were subsequently rescued by the Reedy Creek Fire Department.

    Seven passengers were hospitalized for smoke inhalation or other minor injuries.

    Aug. 30, 1991
    A monorail train collided with a diesel maintenance work tractor near Disney's Contemporary Resort as the tractor drove closely in front of the train to film it for a commercial. Two cast members were treated at a hospital for injuries.

    Aug. 12, 1996
    An electrical fire broke out on a train pulling into the Magic Kingdom station. The driver and the five passengers onboard exited safely.

    More information about the Walt Disney World Monorail system may be found here :
    Walt Disney World Monorail System - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "Safe train spacing is maintained via a moving blocklight system, referred to as MAPO, installed in the cab of each train.[4] MAPO appears in the top center of the pilot's console and looks similar to a horizontal stop light. There are three lights—green, amber, and red—and a push-button labeled "Override". The term "MAPO" itself comes directly from Walt Disney, who formed a new company to deal with Disneyland's transportation system directly from the profits made by Mary Poppins."

    "It is the pilot's responsibility to avoid a red MAPO during normal operation. When the MAPO switches from green to amber, this indicates that the monorail is approaching the train ahead. The pilot must stop the train before crossing into the next block of beam way and hence before the MAPO switches to red. Should a pilot cross the hold point and receive a red MAPO, this counts as a safety demerit against the pilot. If the pilot ever has three demerits on their record, then they will be transferred out of the monorails department and into a different role at Walt Disney World"

    Photo from local 6 news
     

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    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  2. *Bambi-Belle*
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    *Bambi-Belle* Imagineer

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    Oh! that's awful,:sorry: my thoughts are with the cast member's family. xxx
     
  3. Poohtle
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    Poohtle Imagineer

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    Oh how awful and so sad.

    I would have thought that there would have been some safety mechanism though to stop that happening.
     
  4. foreverducky
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    foreverducky Addicted to Mickey

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    That's horrible! My thoughts are with the family! :(
     
  5. Mandy
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    Mandy Earning my ears

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    So sad! my thoughts go out to the family of the driver and thoughts who were injured.
     
  6. Ursula
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    Ursula Cast Member

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    Luckily there was no family riding up front too so it could have been worse too :(
     
  7. disneymom
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    disneymom Imagineer

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    I didnt think of that!

    Poor driver, heart goes out to his family
     
  8. PsychoAlice
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    PsychoAlice Resident Anarchist

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    that is so sad..but there goes anyone else but the driver ever riding up front again..
     
  9. Disfan
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    Disfan Forum Sponsor

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    I ws thinking the same thing :(
     
  10. luvthemouse
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    luvthemouse My nickname is DANGER

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    I feel so badly for the family of the driver, and for anyone who witnessed the accident...
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  11. *Bambi-Belle*
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    *Bambi-Belle* Imagineer

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    My hubby just said OMG that's where we were sitting when he seen the photo.:unsure:
     
  12. eeyoreguy
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    eeyoreguy Earning my ears

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    The speculation at the moment is that one train was being moved across to another track and that the other train was being allowed to override the MAPO system in order to get closer than it normally would be to avoid hold ups. Perhaps the train going to another track was held up and so wasnt expected to be there? Apparently there is a 15mph restriction automatically imposed when a driver hits the override button but with so much weight that can still do a heck of a lot of damage to anything it hits.
     

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  13. SleepinCatz
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    SleepinCatz Fluffeh Disney Fan

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    wowzers....My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and most of all the drivers and thier families.
     
  14. eeyoreguy
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    eeyoreguy Earning my ears

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    Video taken moments after the Disney world monorail accident

    (warning: it's very sad because we now know the driver didn't make it so please exercise discretion as to whether you want to view or not)

    Video

    For those who don't wish to watch:-
    A man who appears to be a Walt Disney World employee told bystanders there were guests and a driver still in the monorail cars.

    "Is there somebody in here?" one guest said, referring to the smashed front of one Monorail.

    "Yes. The driver," the apparent employee said.

    The video shows park guests attempting to get to the trapped driver, banging on the windows of monorail. When the apparent employee realized the incident was being taped, he forced the cameraman to stop filming.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2009
  15. eeyoreguy
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    eeyoreguy Earning my ears

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    The orlando sentinel has released a name:

    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.


    So very sad :( all our prayers and thoughts are with him and his family
     
  16. Johnie
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    Johnie Budget Queen Forum Host

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    Oh that is just awful. RIP
     
  17. Dawn
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    Dawn carpe diem-ing Forum Host

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    For information all monorail services at WDW have been suspended until further notice. The accident happened at TTC on the Epcot loop and the trains involved are still in situ until the NTSB are happy for them to be moved. Latest speculation is that monorail purple was sitting stationary at the TTC and monorail pink reversed into it. That is still very much speculation and yes there are multiple safety features built into the whole monorail operating system. Discussing why are how it happen is pointless until the official investigation is complete. Please respect the fact that a 21 year old man tragically lost his life today.
     
  18. Claire
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    Claire She lost the crayons!

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    Such a sad day for the family and friends of the CM. My thoughts are with them.
     
  19. firenice
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    firenice Earning my ears

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    How horrible, our hearts go out to those affected by the tragedy :(
     
  20. mainecoon lover
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    mainecoon lover Addicted to Mickey

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    Very sad news. Thoughs are with the family.

    I guess thats the end of guests riding upfront.
     

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