Monorail Accident at Walt Disney WorldLeah Zanolla | Posted: Jul 5, 2009 | Updated: Dec 31, 2012 - 4:00:18 PM
Two monorails collided early Sunday morning leaving one driver dead. Emergency crews were called to one of the monorail stops at 2 a.m. after receiving reports of two monorails colliding. Reports suggest that the train was leaving Epcot and was arriving at the Ticket and Transportation Center. According to witnesses, one monorail ran into another stationary train. One of the drivers, Austin Wuennenberg (21), was pronounced dead at the scene. The other was taken to the hospital, but did not have serious injuries. A family of six were the only passengers on the train. They were evaluated by paramedics, but were uninjured and released at the scene. This is the first fatal accident in the Walt Disney World monorail system's history. Officials are still working to determine the cause of the collision.
The monorail system reopened on July 6th after receiving OSHA clearance.
Update: On July 5th, 2009 at 2:00am, monorail Pink was performing a switching maneuver from the EPCOT beam to Express beam which requires driving backwards through the switch. While doing so, the anti-collision or “MAPO” system is over-ridden. At the same time, monorail Purple was holding outside the station on the EPCOT beam and given clearance into the station. The collision occurred due to the switch operator not moving the switch for Pink, therefore causing it to drive in reverse in MAPO over-ride still on the EPCOT beam and collide with Purple, killing the pilot.
Since the accident, Disney has updated their operating procedures to prevent this kind of accident from happening again. Unfortunately it also means, due to both liability and the potential distraction caused to the pilot, guests are no longer allowed to ride up front.
For more information on the monorail safety system, read this article on Wikipedia. (Please be aware that Wikipedia is a user-driven website)
Daily Email DIS Updates
Stay Informed With All Things Disney!
Enter your email address below to receive DIS Updates by email – including News, Blogs, Podcasts, Discounts, and Disney Updates.
Sign Up & Win A Prize!
Each month we select one of our subscribers at random and give away a prize! Prizes range from a $50 Disney Gift Card, Adventures by Disney trip for two, or a 7 day/6 night stay at Walt Disney World with dining for a family of four!
- Fantasia Miniature Golf Course rehab planned off and on for the next two weeks - Gardens Course closed 7/22-7/25/2014, 7/28-8/1/2014, 8/4-8/8/2014. The Fairways will still be open.
- Blog - I Can Go The Distance: Deciding is one thing, registering is another
- Save up to 30% on a Room Only reservation at Walt Disney World! - Valid for stays most nights 10/4/14 - 11/25/14 and 11/29/14 - 12/23/14.
- 2015 WDW hotel discount released for U.S. Military - Valid for stays most nights 9/28/14 - 10/3/15.
- All 3 remaining weekends sold out for Harambe Nights - July 26, August 2 and August 9 are sold out.
- Annual passholder discount for Spice Road Table - Through 9/17/14, Annual Passholders can get a 30% discount on their bill.
- 2015 Military Ticket Discount info released - Members of the military can purchase 4-day Magic Your Way tickets with Park Hopper option for $177 each.
- Changes to reservation times for Wishes Dessert Party - Reservations are all being set for 6:00pm, no matter when Wishes is taking place. The dessert party will actually take place one hour before Wishes.
- Frozen Summer Fun Premium package is sold out for all remaining dates - This package gives guests at Frozen Summer Fun Live reserved viewing for several events.
- Wild by Design tour to be discontinued after 9/26/14 - This tour takes place at Disney's Animal Kingdom.
- Fantasy Football Convention coming to ESPN Wide World of Sports - The convention will give attendees access to ESPN talent, a live fantasy football draft and more.
- Blog - Sneak Preview of What's Coming to the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival
- Dates and pricing released for ICE! at Gaylord Palms - Using two million pounds of ice, this Gaylord Palms Resort special ticket exhibit will be transformed into the North Pole.
- Blog - Disney's Magical Express Age Limit Changes: A Parent's & Teacher's Perspective
- Blog - Five Reasons Why We're Not Seeing "Planes: Fire & Rescue" in Theaters
- Blog updated - I Just Spent $20 on FastPasses! Would You? - The author has taken the tour she discussed in the blog - check out her thoughts to see if she would do this again!
- Blog - July 2014 Magic Kingdom Construction Update
- Information for Food & Wine Festival special dining experiences - book 7/31 - Premium events will be announced July 24 and can be booked on July 31 beginning at 7:00am EST. To book, call 407-WDW-FEST (939-3378).
- Princess Half Marathon fills in less than 24 hours - The Princess Half Marathon, the Princess Enchanted 10K and the Glass Slipper Challenge are sold out, filling less than 24 hours after registration opened.
- Dolphins at Epcot will be offstage through August 7 - Guests will not be able to see the dolphins at The Seas with Nemo & Friends. The Dolphins in Depth Tour will be unavailable during this time as well.
- Changes in parking due to Downtown Disney Remodel - Speeds in the area will be reduced, as well as lanes closed. Buena Vista Drive will be expanded to 10 lanes.
- Blog - Disney Responds to Disability Access Service Lawsuit