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Worker below the surface of Manhattan killed

Far below the teeming surface of Manhattan, a worker was killed last week while helping build a train tunnel.

The man was 140 feet below the ground when the construction accident happened Thursday night.

The New York Times said the accident was a reminder of the city's past, when workers were regularly killed while carving out and putting together underground infrastructure.

The 26-year-old worker had been working on a commuter rail tunnel below Park Avenue when a piece of concrete fell from the ceiling and struck him. He'd been on the job a mere three weeks.

The tunnel will connect Long Island Rail Road trains to Grand Central Terminal, allowing easier access to Manhattan's East Side.

The worker's father is a supervisor on the project; he had secured the job for his son. He was there in the tunnel when his son died.

According to the Times, it's not unusual for fathers and sons to work together digging tunnels. Sandhogs, as the workers are known, often pass their knowledge of drilling, blasting and concrete-pouring on to the next generation.

The concrete that fell had recently been sprayed on the ceiling with a high-pressure hose. Some other hard-to-reach areas that had also been sprayed had been tested and determined to be stable, a transit official told the newspaper.

Whether or not the claim is accurate will be determined by an investigation into the tragedy.

We wish the family of this worker all the best as they make their way through the difficult days ahead.

Source: New York Times: "A Now-Rare Tunnel Accident Claims a Worker's Life," Michael M. Grynbaum and Christine Haughney, Nov. 18, 2011

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