BART police have confirmed that two BART workers were struck and killed by a BART train that was “under computer control” this afternoon.
A report of two people hit by a train on the BART trackway between Walnut Creek and Pleasant Hill came in a short time before 2 PM, BART police Lt. Paul Kwon said.
According to a statement sent by BART to media, one BART employee and a contractor were struck at approximately 1:53 PM.
The workers “were performing track inspections in response to a report of a dip in the track” BART said in their statement.
“Both people had extensive experience working around moving trains in both the freight train and the rapid transit industry,” BART said.
According to BART, track maintenance procedures require one employee to act as a lookout and to watch for oncoming traffic while the other works.
Although BART employees are on strike and trains are not picking up passengers today, a limited number of trains are running along the system for maintenance and security reasons, a BART spokeswoman said Friday.
“The trains are running around the system to keep the tracks in good shape,” Salaver said.
BART officials have said some managers have been trained to operate the trains for maintenance purposes in the event of a strike. BART has not confirmed, however, if the train’s operator in today’s incident was a manager.
According to BART, the train that struck and killed the workers “was on a routine maintenance run with an experienced operator at the controls. At the time of the accident the train was being run in automatic mode under computer control.”
Another transmission seems to suggest that BART staff believed that there were no personnel on their tracks:
The Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 said on its official Twitter account that it will not picket tomorrow “out of respect for the families involved.”
In a joint statement sent to media, SEIU 1021 and ATU 1555 said that they “express our deepest sympathies for the families of the individuals who died in this tragic accident.”
“Our hearts go out to any @SFBART comrades involved in today’s incident,” ATU 1555 tweeted earlier today. “In the midst of this #BARTstrike, NO ONE deserves to die.”
Via emailed statement, BART General Manager Grace Crunican said “This is a tragic day in BART’s history.”
“The entire BART family is grieving,” Crunican said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of our deceased co-workers.”
BART has declined release the names of the victims at this time. According to Crunican, “this accident is under investigation. All the proper authorities have been notified.”