NTSB cites Disney employee failure in fatal monorail crash

NTSB estimates crash caused $24 million in damage

ORLANDO, Fla. - The National Transportation and Safety Board has released its report on a fatal Disney monorail crash.

Monorail pilot Austin Wuennenberg was killed around 2 a.m. on July 5, 2009, when the purple monorail train he was piloting collided with another train.

According to the NTSB, "Two monorails collided on a fixed guideway system referred to as the Epcot beam near the Concourse station within Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The accident occurred when the Pink monorail backed through an improperly aligned switch-beam and struck the Purple monorail. An operator and six passengers were on board the Purple monorail at the time of the collision."

The six passengers on the purple train were not injured. The pilot of the pink train, who was the only person aboard that train, was treated for injuries at a nearby hospital.

According to the report, the NTSB determined the probable cause of the collision to be, "The shop panel operator's failure to properly position switch-beam 9 and the failure of the monorail manager acting as the central coordinator to verify the position of switch-beam 9 before authorizing the reverse movement of the Pink monorail. Contributing to the accident was Walt Disney World Resort's lack of standard operating procedures leading to an unsafe practice when reversing trains on its monorail system."

The NTSB estimated that the crash caused $24 million in damage.

Because of the changes Disney has already implemented, the NTSB said it has no further recommendations for changes Disney needs to make.

Visit the NTSB's website to read the full crash report.

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