Train derailment in Mont. spills Boeing fuselages

The Seattle TimesJuly 5, 2014 

Boeing investigators have been dispatched to a train derailment in Montana that ended with Boeing airplane fuselages and other equipment sliding into a river.

Boeing spokesman Larry Wilson said in a statement that a BNSF Railway train carrying six 737 fuselages and assemblies for 777 and 747 planes derailed Thursday near Rivulet, about 18 miles east of Superior, Mont.

Photos taken by rafters on the Clark Fork River showed at least three fuselages scattered along the river bank.

Crews on Sunday (July 6) will try to remove the fuselages. Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost said Saturday that it was unclear the type of challenge involved because it was the first time the company has faced such a task.

The train carried six fuselages. Three others also fell off but stayed on land, Frost said.

The train was westbound on track operated by Montana Rail Link when 19 cars derailed, spilling the equipment down a steep riverbed and into the river.

Frost told a Missoula radio station the derailment happened about 4 p.m. No injuries were reported.

“Those cars contained aircraft components, denatured alcohol and soybeans,” she told KGVO. She said crews worked through the night to recover the load and attempt to clear the tracks.

According to The Associated Press, 13 of the cars that derailed were carrying freight, mostly aircraft parts with some soybeans and denatured alcohol. Six were empty.

Frost said the alcohol didn’t leak and no soybeans spilled. She said crews were working to remove the aircraft parts from the water.

The train was headed to Boeing’s final-assembly plant in Renton from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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