[B]Federal investigators now reviewing corporate records as part of Disney World monorail probe[/B]
Jason Garcia Sentinel Staff Writer
4:50 PM EDT, July 29, 2009
Federal investigators probing the July 5 collision on the Walt Disney World monorail said Wednesday that they have begun reviewing scores of company records, as they search for the ultimate causes of an accident that killed 21-year-old part-time monorail driver Austin Wuennenberg.
In a brief update, the National Transportation Safety Board said it has asked Disney to provide documents detailing employee training, work history and work hours, monorail standard operating procedures and mechanical and inspection history of the trains and a track-switch mechanism.
It is the first official indication of the areas investigators are searching as they seek to determine whether factors beyond human error contributed to the first fatal crash in the 38-year history of Disney World’s monorail.
The accident occurred as workers were attempting to transfer a train off the monorail’s Epcot loop so it could go out of service for the night. People familiar with the investigation say a worker mistakenly radioed that he had activated a track switch that would have allowed the train to reverse off the Epcot beam and onto a spur leading away from the main track; the train instead wound up backing down the Epcot beam and into a train piloted by Wuennenberg.
No one else was hurt in the 2 a.m. collision.
The NTSB says Disney World has so far provided most of the records it has requested. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Transportation Communications Union, which represents monorail workers, are also involved in the investigation.
Investigators completed the on-scene portion of their investigation, including train and track-switch testing, on July 9. They have also completed interviews with all of the key employees involved.