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Disney World monorail crash kills train driver

Disney says the incident is the system's first fatal collision in its 38-year history at the park.

July 06, 2009|Associated Press

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLA. — Two monorail trains crashed early Sunday morning in the Magic Kingdom section of Walt Disney World, killing one train's operator, emergency officials said.

Disney said it was the first fatal crash in the monorail's 38-year history in the park.

The transit system, which shuttles thousands of visitors around the sprawling resort each day, was shut down while authorities investigated.

The monorail operator died at the scene of the crash, which happened about 2 a.m., said Bo Jones, deputy chief for the Reedy Creek Fire Department. The other train operator was unhurt but was taken to a hospital because he was emotionally upset.

Jones said five park guests were treated, though the Orange County Sheriff's Office said six had been treated.

"To see the accident, to see the scene of what had happened and the fact that there was a life that was lost, it was very sad. It was very somber," Jones said.

Disney senior spokesman Michael Griffin identified the driver as Austin Wuennenberg, 21. Griffin would not discuss how long Wuennenberg had been with Disney or the circumstances of the crash. Disney officials also declined to discuss how the monorail system operates.

Accidents at the park "are extremely rare," Griffin said. "The safety of our guests and cast are a top priority above all else."

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