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The National Transportation Safety Board has released a preliminary statement on the July 5th  collision of two Monorails at Walt Disney World that left one cast member dead. It contains what we have to take as the most accurate description of the tragic unfolding to date. The full report can take 6 months or more.

One of the most heartbreaking details revealed by the NTSB is that the Monorail Purple pilot died while trying to switch his train into reverse and save the lives of his passengers. An upstanding young man and a hero. I hope Walt Disney World finds some way to honor his heroic actions.

Update: The Orlando Sentinel has discovered a potentially unsettling detail. The Manager who was responsible for Monorail Central Control was off property at the time of the crash, although still issuing commands through their radio. They had been asked to take over the Central Coordinator duties after the original coordinator left early due to illness. My sources tell me it’s unlikely this was a contributing factor to the crash. But having the coordinator in the station as an extra pair of eyes during switch times is probably a bonus.

The full text of the statement below the cut: