The track supervisor who tripped and fell to his death on a third rail Monday apparently shouldn't have been working in that morning's wet weather, union officials said.
NYC Transit safety regulations state workers shouldn't be near the electrified third rail if it is raining or the area is rain-slicked, as it was when track supervisor James Knell died along the Rockaway Shuttle line, according to Transport Workers Union Local 100 President John Samuelsen.
The scene on the tracks of the Beach 90th street Station where an MTA employee was electrocuted. Pictured here are ground clips attached to the uncovered section of the third rail. Costanza for News
"How could this happen?" father-in-law Gregory Odette said. "They shouldn't have been working in the rain. I don't understand. Somebody made a mistake."
Track workers twice were pulled from tracks during heavy rainfall before the 4:30 a.m. tragedy, sources said.
It was unclear if the rain had completely stopped or if there was a light drizzle when Knell fell at about 4:30 a.m. NYC Transit declined to comment during an ongoing investigation.
Sources said track workers toiled on and off through rain during the overnight shift.
The power was turned off for the project but was restored so a test train could come through the area around Beach 90th St.
Knell was a track crew member before being promoted nine years ago to crew supervisor. He was represented by the Subway Surface Supervisors Association, which declined to comment on rules and regulations Tuesday.
"We're just concerned with the grief of the family right now. There will be another day for that, if necessary," association President Tony Gamma said, adding the tragedy does highlight "the everyday dangers of the job that our members do."