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July 9, 2009 - Disney World Monorail Crash Due to Failed Transfer

An unsuccessful attempt to transfer a monorail train between tracks at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., caused a deadly crash, a federal agency says.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the crash that killed Walt Disney World monorail pilot Austin Wuennenberg did not appear to be the result of problems with any track-switch components or the automatic anti-collision systems on the site's trains.

The agency added in its preliminary report regarding Sunday's crash it appeared Wuennenberg was able to stop his train before it was struck from the front by an oncoming train.

"There are indications that (Wuennenberg) ... had brought the train to a stop and had attempted to put the train in reverse prior to the collision," the agency said Wednesday.

An anonymous Disney employee said the accident could have been related to the absence of a monorail-central coordinator.

The employee told the Sentinel the scheduled coordinator had gone home sick Sunday and the manager that assumed responsibility for overseeing the train system was off site when the crash took place.

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