Federal investigators looking into a New York City transit death Thursday are examining whether escape alcoves used to protect workers from an oncoming subway train have enough room, a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees were setting up a work zone on the southbound subway tracks near the Fort Hamilton Parkway station in Brooklyn when a train struck two workers around 12:05 a.m. The train was traveling around a curve when it pinned the two workers, authorities said.

The federal official, who was briefed on the investigation, said it appears two workers tried to jump into one of the alcoves but it wasn't big enough to hold both of them. The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

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The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending a team of railroad investigators to New York City.

A 53-year-old worker who was struck by the train was pronounced dead Thursday morning and a 49-year-old worker was hospitalized in serious but stable condition Thursday, authorities said. Their names were not immediately released.

"This tragedy highlights the extreme danger transit workers are in every time they step on the tracks," said John Samuelsen, president of the workers' union, who met with his members after the fatality.

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New York City Transit halted all non-emergency track work as the investigation continued. The agency's president, Ronnie Hakim, extended condolences to the families of the workers and said the agency was reviewing safety standards with MTA employees.

"The safety of all our workers is paramount and we are in the process of investigating this tragic incident," she said in a statement.