Light rail worker fatally injured in construction accident

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A light rail construction worker died this morning following a tragic accident on the site where Sound Transit’s Beacon Hill light rail tunnel is under construction.

“Our hearts are heavy following this devastating accident that has taken one of our community members. Our prayers are with his family and friends,” said Sound Transit CEO Joni Earl. “Today is a very sad day in the Sound Transit family. I will ensure that our staff and contractor do everything necessary to facilitate a thorough and open investigation of this tragedy. Nothing is more important than the safety of our workers and the public.”

The worker is not being identified pending notification of his family members.

The contractor, Obayashi Corporation, immediately stopped all of its work while authorities immediately began investigating. Parties involved in the investigation include the Washington Department of Labor and Industries, Seattle Police Department, Seattle Fire Department, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 302, Obayashi and Sound Transit.

Obayashi Project Sponsor Jim Stevens provided the following statement: “We regret today’s tragic incident and extend our deepest sympathies to the family of the victim. We will work with local authorities to determine the cause of today’s event.”

The accident involved a supply train that carries construction materials into and out of the light rail tunnel that is being built beneath Beacon Hill. Two workers were riding the locomotive of a train loaded with concrete tunnel-liner segments and other equipment as it headed down the slight grade toward the tunnel’s west portal. The train exited the tunnel and failed to stop, striking another parked locomotive. The worker who was killed either jumped, fell or was thrown from the locomotive, sustaining fatal injuries. The other worker remained on the locomotive. He was released from the hospital after receiving treatment for minor injuries.

The supply train system involved in this accident was the subject of an investigation following an accident in October. Sound Transit provided reporters with documents associated with that investigation and is fully cooperating in the current investigation.

“We will do our part to identify the cause of this incident and will take every necessary action to respond to the findings,” Earl said.


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