Subway escape alcoves probed after accident; 1 worker dead

NEW YORK (AP) — A subway train struck two workers in a tunnel early Thursday, killing one and injuring the other, and investigators are looking at whether there’s enough room in the escape alcoves along the tracks.

A federal official briefed on the investigation said it appears two workers tried to jump into one of the recessed alcoves along the tunnel wall but it apparently wasn’t big enough to hold them. The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team to investigate the accident, which happened at 12:05 a.m. as the Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees were setting up a work zone on the southbound tracks near the Fort Hamilton Parkway station in Brooklyn.

Authorities said the train was traveling around a curve when it struck the two workers. A 53-year-old worker was killed, and a 49-year-old worker was hospitalized in serious but stable condition. Their names weren’t immediately released.

The federal official told the AP the workers had no clue a train was coming until it was on top of them and part of the probe will examine whether there was a lack of communication between train operators and the track crews.

The president of the workers’ union, John Samuelsen, met with his members after the accident.

“This tragedy highlights the extreme danger transit workers are in every time they step on the tracks,” Samuelsen said.

New York City Transit halted all non-emergency track work as the investigation continued. The agency’s president, Ronnie Hakim, extended condolences to the families of the workers and said the agency was reviewing safety standards with MTA employees.

“The safety of all our workers is paramount, and we are in the process of investigating this tragic incident,” Hakim said in a statement.

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