A passenger was killed on Friday after on an unauthorized ride, when he was ejected through the tram’s windshield and fell from the elevated track of the tram during a routine maintenance run at Florida’s Orlando International Airport.
The man was not authorized to be on board the tram, but was invited along by another friend who is a crewmember with maintenance that works for Bombardier, the operator of the tram system, said authorities at the airport.
The tram stopped suddenly while the passenger was at the controls and he was immediately ejected from the tram, reported a local newspaper from Orlando.
The man who died was not identified after he was rushed to a nearby hospital, said officials from the airport. The tram is normally automated but was running manually during an inspection at 5:30 a.m. The tram is used to transport airline passengers from the airport’s main terminal to four other satellite terminals.
The passenger was at the tram’s controls when he pulled his hands away suddenly, causing the tram to come to a sudden stop. The unexpected stop ejected the man through the tram’s windshield and onto the ground 10 to 15 feet below.
Phil Brown the Executive Director at the Orlando International Airport said that the tram has a kill switch that is activated when the driver takes his or her hands off the steering wheel, which is what happened causing the man to be ejected.
The tram had been moving forward at about 5 mph when the incident took place. Passenger service was not interrupted, even though the tram involved was out of service, reported airport officials.
The incident caused a number of national agencies to arrive and start full investigations including OSHA and the National Transportation and Safety Board.
Authorities did not say how the man who allowed the unauthorized passenger on board would be disciplined or if he would lose his job.