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Tuesday, July 7, 2009

NTSB to investigate monorail accident

In what may be a first for private transportation systems, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced they are launching a full investigation of Sunday morning's fatal monorail accident.

According to a report by the Orlando Sentinel, Disney has confirmed that the accident happened while one monorail (pink) was in the process of switching from the Epcot loop to a spur connected to the Magic Kingdom express loop. Apparently the track switch never took place and the pink monorail driver put the monorail in reverse, thinking they were on the spur to the Magic Kingdom express loop. Instead, pink monorail reversed back on the Epcot loop, striking purple monorail, killing driver Austin Wuennenberg.

"We'll be going on scene and working with Disney there. We understand that OSHA is already involved," NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson told the Sentinel. "We'll be looking at operating control systems, and their [Disney's] procedures, and the different procedures they use on the monorail to position trains."

When asked why the NTSB was taking the unprecedented step of investigating a private transportation system, Knudson replied, "it is a widely used transportation system that is used by the public."

Disney told the Sentinel they will fully cooperate with the NTSB investigation.

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