Nation/World


Disney World trains collide; worker killed

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 holiday weekend wreck.

The monorail operator died at the scene of the crash, which happened around 2 a.m., said Bo Jones, deputy chief for Reedy Creek Fire Department. The other train operator was uninjured, but was taken to a hospital because he was emotionally shaken. Jones said five park guests were treated at the scene, though the Orange County Sheriff’s office said six were treated.

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

“They are extremely rare,” Griffin said of accidents at the park. “The safety of our guests and cast are a top priority above all else.”

It is unclear what caused the crash, Jones said. Orange County sheriff’s officials are investigating.

A spokeswoman for Stetson University in nearby DeLand confirmed that Wuennenberg was a student at the school. Jones said the crash happened at the park’s ticket and transportation center. About a dozen guards wearing blue Disney security uniforms guarded the monorail station Sunday morning and prevented visitors from approaching.


 

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