Two workers inspecting a line on San Francisco’s strike-disrupted Bay Area Rapid Transit system were hit by a train and killed, the agency said.
The accident happened yesterday at 1:53 p.m. between the Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill stations. The workers, a BART employee and a contractor, were struck by an out-of-service BART train, it said.
“The train was on a routine maintenance run with an experienced operator at the controls,” BART said in a statement. “At the time of the accident the train was being run in automatic mode under computer control.”
Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board have arrived in San Francisco to “investigate BART track worker deaths,” according to a message posted on the NTSB Twitter page.
Grace Crunican, BART’s general manager, said the accident marked a “tragic day” in the company’s history.
BART has received no indication that the union workers will return to their jobs today, it said in a statement advising travelers to make alternative plans.
The strike resumed Oct. 18 after a four-day walkout in July was halted for contract negotiations talks.
BART connects downtown San Francisco to the San Francisco International Airport and East Bay cities including Oakland. The transit service normally carries about 400,000 people a day.
“We are unaware of the details regarding what occurred” in the workers’ deaths, the Service Employees International Union, the union representing the striking workers, said in a statement. “We express our deepest sympathies for the families of the individuals who died in this tragic accident.”
Picketing continued today, and a vigil is planned for the fatally injured workers this evening, Ceceille Isidro, a union spokeswoman, said today.
There have been no meetings between the bargaining teams since the workers resumed the strike, she said.