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Sunday's Monorail Tragedy

Posted by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 1:52 PM
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Some of you may have heard of the monorail accident that happened at 2:00 AM Sunday morning, which claimed the life of 21-year old monorail pilot Austin Wuenneberg.  Click here for information from our local Orlando news (be careful who is around--there is a photo).

Official Disney statement:  "Today, we mourn the loss of our fellow cast member. Our hearts go out to his family and those who have lost a friend and coworker. The safety of our guests and cast members is always our top priority. The monorail is out of service and we will continue to work closely with law enforcement to determine what happened and the appropriate next steps to take."

There are no further details at this time.  The Disney monorails have extensive safety precautions, one of which is no guests riding in the cabin after dark.  There would have been more loss of life if there had been guests present in the cabin, so that is one thing to be thankful for.  Even so, we lost a cast member, and even though there are thousands of them, they are all my husband's coworkers and we are all part of the Disney family.  My heart and prayers go out to the family, and I hope you will also keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Please remember the next time you start to get frustrated at late monorails, buses, etc., that Disney values the safety of their cast members and guests above all else, and a little patience can go a long way to keeping everyone safe.

Extended Breastfeeding - Babywearing - Happily Married
Stay-at-Home - Christian - Mama


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by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 1:52 PM
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Replies (1-6):
RavnJay
by Member on Jul. 5, 2009 at 2:16 PM

Wow, how incredibly sad. My prayers and thoughts go out to the family and friends mourning this loss.

AdrianeS
by on Jul. 5, 2009 at 2:37 PM

I had not heard...how tragic!! That is terrifying and just awful. I'm so sorry for those involved :( I may be a lil scared to ride when we go in September..altho I read the article and it says this is only the second crash ever..and the last was in 1974. I am so glad Disney is taking the necessary steps to figure out what happened..this is just terrible.

Megara
by Group Owner on Jul. 5, 2009 at 10:48 PM

I have always felt very safe at Disney, and I still do.  I will still ride the monorail.  I had never heard of Austin before this accident, but from what I have learned about him since, he was a smart guy who loved Disney and loved driving the monorails.

Extended Breastfeeding - Babywearing - Happily Married
Stay-at-Home - Christian - Mama


Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Ask a Cast Member's Wife at Disney Planning 101!


Tigger4399
by on Jul. 6, 2009 at 12:58 PM

My heart as well as my thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends and also to the guests that were injured. They are called accidends for a reason and as tragic as this is, I hope no body blames him.

CorbinsMomma
by on Jul. 8, 2009 at 10:09 AM

Hugs to the family members.

Out of curiosity...why were the monorails on so late that night???

Megara
by Group Owner on Jul. 8, 2009 at 12:05 PM

The monorails were running late because of the 4th of July.  Epcot closed at 10, and MK closed at 1:00 am.  Austin was piloting Monorail Purple on the Epcot track, and had 6 guests onboard.  If you've ever been to Epcot or MK on the fourth, you know it's a madhouse trying to get out.  This was probably supposed to be his last run of the night.  One source also said he was picking up a family from the TTC who came from MK and needed to get back to Epcot, where they had left their car.  Monorail Pink was also on the Epcot track, waiting for the track switch to take the spur track to go back to the Shop for the night.  Pink was apparently given clearance to begin travelling in reverse down the spur, but the switch was not made, and instead Pink travelled in reverse on the Epcot track, colliding with Purple, who was either stationary because he was waiting for Pink to move, or had already been given clearance to advance to the TTC (there are conflicting reports at this time). 

Update:  We now know that Austin had put his monorail in reverse, attempting to avoid the collision.  NTSB has ruled there was no mechanical malfunction.  The monorails began carrying passengers again Monday.

Quoting CorbinsMomma:

Hugs to the family members.

Out of curiosity...why were the monorails on so late that night???


Extended Breastfeeding - Babywearing - Happily Married
Stay-at-Home - Christian - Mama


Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker

Ask a Cast Member's Wife at Disney Planning 101!


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