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(UPDATED) Disney employee killed in accident near Pop Century Resort, authorities say

By Bianca Padro Ocasio and Gabrielle Russon • Updated Jul 10, 2018 at 6:36 PM

(UPDATED at 6:32 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, 2018) A Walt Disney World worker was killed Monday when the utility cart he was working on jumped a curb, ran into chain-link fence and then fell on him, an Orange County Sheriff’s Office report revealed Tuesday.

The accident killed Juan Alberto Ojeda, 33, of Kissimmee, who had been working on the cart’s battery. He was later declared dead at the scene, a backstage area used by Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for vehicle maintenance.

Employee Danny Vazquez, who was showing a new hire around, witnessed the accident from 20 yards away. Vazquez heard “a screeching sound and turned to see a Toro utility vehicle drive up onto a curb” and travel several feet up the fence before falling on top of him, the report said.

Ojeda asked Vazquez to back the red cart off him and then said he couldn’t breathe before he fell unconscious, the report said.

Vazquez estimated the cart drove 6 feet into the fence before coming back down on the ground on top of Ojeda. The new hire, Josh Willner, estimated it was closer to 3 feet, the report said.

Willner and Vazquez tried to lift the cart off Ojeda but it was too heavy, and they feared hurting him even more if they drove it, according to the report.

Disney declined to comment on the accident Tuesday, other than to say it happened in a nonpublic area.

The federal Occupational and Safety Health Administration was investigating as well but would not release any details, either.

Meanwhile, a second accident hours later on the theme park property left another Disney employee hurt, officials said.

The accident occurred at about 10:30 p.m. at 2901 Osceola Parkway, the address for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, sheriff’s spokeswoman Deputy Ingrid Tejada-Monforte said.

A man had fallen and injured himself before calling 911, according to the sheriff’s office. He was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

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(ORIGINAL STORY)

ORLANDO, Fla. — A Walt Disney World employee was killed in an accident, the company confirmed Monday.

The Reedy Creek Fire Department responded to an unconscious man identified as Juan Alberto Ojeda, 33, who was unresponsive at 1153 Century Drive, near Disney’s Pop Century Resort. He was declared dead at the scene shortly after 9 a.m., according to Orange County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Ingrid Tejada-Monforte.

“All of us at Walt Disney World Resort are deeply saddened today by the loss of one of our Cast Members,” Walt Disney World Resort President George A. Kalogridis said in a statement. “Our thoughts and concerns are with his family, friends, and fellow co-workers.”

He said the company would be providing resources for people impacted by the accident and they are working with authorities to determine the circumstances of the employee’s death.

Pop Century Resort, which is adjacent to Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, is located near Hollywood Studios.

No other information was immediately available.

Construction is currently under way to build a gondola stop at Pop Century that it will share with Disney’s Art of Animation Resort.

Walt Disney World is building the new aerial transportation system that will connect some of its resorts with Epcot and Hollywood Studios via gondolas. No opening date has been announced for the gondolas.

When Pop Century Resort opened in 2003, it was considered the single-largest hotel in Walt Disney World Resort’s history with its 2,880 rooms on 235 acres. Its debut was delayed for two years because of a travel slump after 9/11.

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©2018 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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