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NYC Transit worker from L.I. killed by third rail

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A Long Island man who was a track supervisor for New York City Transit was killed early Monday morning after he came into contact with the electrified third rail at the Beach 90th Street Station of the A train in Rockaway Beach, the MTA said in a statement.

James Knell, 45, of East Rockaway, L.I., was a track supervisor who was part of a crew working on a station rehabilitation project in the Rockaways when he was killed, the agency said.

Knell was a 13-year veteran of NYC Transit and was a supervisor for nine years, according to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

“We lost one of our own ... and labeling this incident a tragedy is a painful statement of the obvious,” MTA NYC Transit President Thomas F. Pendergast said. “The Office of System Safety and the Department of Subways has begun an investigation into this incident to both determine a cause and to ensure we prevent a recurrence.”

Knell is survived by his wife, Jackie, and two stepchildren, the MTA said.

A spokesman for TWU Local 100, the transportation union Knell was a member of, could not be reached for comment.

— Howard Koplowitz

Updated 5:57 pm, October 10, 2011
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