NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A team from the National Transportation Safety Board is on its way to New York City after a subway train struck two MTA workers overnight in Brooklyn, killing one and leaving the other seriously hurt.
The NTSB said on Twitter Thursday morning that it is sending a railroad team to investigate the incident.
It happened around 12:15 a.m. as the MTA says the two employees were working on the tracks between the Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue subway stations preparing the area for overnight maintenance.
Police said the two were hit by a southbound G train as it rounded a curve, pinning both men.
Firefighters and EMS worked urgently to save the men, climbing through an emergency hatch in the sidewalk at the corner of East 3rd Street and Canton Avenue, lowering themselves down in order to get to the victims.
“A difficult, an unusual, unorthodox type of rescue,” said FDNY Deputy Chief Stephen Moro. “We were able to extricate two MTA workers and bring them up.”
Fifty-three-year-old Louis Gray, 15-year veteran of the MTA, was taken to Maimonides Hospital where he was pronounced dead, CBS2’s Magdalena Doris reported.
His co-worker, 49-year-old Jeffery Fleming with 17 years on the job, was injured and taken to the hospital, but is expected survive, Doris reported. A third man on the tracks was unharmed.
An MTA spokesman said the men were flaggers and were supposed to be on the tracks at the time of the incident, WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported. They were setting up a construction zone for contractors.
New York City Transit President Ronnie Hakim issued a statement, saying, “We extend our deep felt condolences today.”
“The safety of all our workers is paramount and we are in the process of investigating this tragic incident,” Hakim said. “All safety standards are being reviewed with employees and a ‘safety stand down’ order — requiring all non-emergency track work to cease — has been issued while an investigation is underway.”
A grieving family member spoke with CBS2’s Tony Aiello on Thursday.
“It’s just the loss. We seen him yesterday, and now today he’s gone. We’re trying to deal with it, to cope with it,” Yolanda Wise said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a tweet expressing his condolences.
Transport Workers Union president John Samuelsen said the accident “highlights the extreme danger” that workers are in every time they step on the tracks, 1010 WINS’ Al Jones reported.
“These two men were working the overnight shift to put food on their table and provide for their families. Now, one is dead and the other seriously injured,” he said in a statement. “I ask everyone in the city to keep them and their families in your prayers.”
The workers were in a dangerous spot where the G line curves between the Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Street stations.
“When you’re on a curve in the subway, the line of site of the train operator is obscured, and the line of site of the workers is obscured. So this is a perfect storm of problems,” Samuelsen said.
The train’s driver — a union brother of the victims — is said to be devastated.
“It is probably the most difficult thing a train operator can live through. Having a fatal accident with a brother or sister TWU member,” Samuelsen said.
He said the union’s contract with the MTA expires on Jan. 15 and that negotiations are about to start.
“The NYC Transit Authority can’t protect us so they damn well better pay us,” he said.
The tracks were shut down overnight during the rescue, but service has since resumed.