• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
2m 26s

Crews pulling plane fuselages from Montana river after train derailment

By CBS/AP 3:52 PM July 7, 2014
MISSOULA, Mont. –

Three airplane fuselages that slid down a steep embankment into the Clark Fork River following a train derailment in western Montana could take until Tuesday to remove, railroad officials said Sunday.

“The progress is going extremely slow,” Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost said. “If we get one up today, it would appear it will take one day each to get them out.”

She said a crew of 50 with eight heavy-equipment machines was working together to hoist up the three Boeing 737 fuselages, the large, central portions of planes that hold passengers.

Six fuselages were aboard a westbound train when 19 cars derailed Thursday about 10 miles west of Alberton. The three remaining plane sections also fell off but stayed on land. No one was injured in the derailment, which is under investigation.

Boeing said in a statement that it has experts at the scene to assess the damage. Marc Birtel, director of media relations, said Sunday that he didn’t have information on what the experts have decided.

The fuselages were traveling from a Spirit AeroSystems plant in Wichita, Kansas, to a Boeing facility in Renton, Washington, to be assembled into airliners.

Ken Evans, senior manager for Spirit AeroSystems, said the company ships 42 of the 737 fuselages each month to Washington state.

“We’re at a record rate right now,” he said. “We’ve been doing this for decades, and this is exactly how they’ve been shipped for decades.”

None of the companies involved offered an estimate of the damage.

Frost of Montana Rail Link said insurance considerations won’t be decided until the investigation is complete. She said the train was traveling well under the 35 mph speed limit for that section of track.

Meanwhile, rafters on the popular Clark Fork River have a surreal view as they pass the fuselages near a river feature called Mermaid Rock.

“They really get to see the enormous size of those aircraft,” said Josh Flanagan of Wiley E. Waters, a rafting company. “It’s not something you expect to float past when you’re on a river trip.”

Jason Shreder, who owns a company that offers guided rafting trips on the river, told CBS affiliate KXLH that his business hasn’t been hurt despite the unusual incident.

“Trains come through here often and they’re pretty noisy, so when we heard the derailment we knew something was wrong,” Shreder said. “Because we’d been out here, we’d seen that there was adequate safety and that there really was a very low risk. So it was great that they re-opened the river because this is the time of year you want to be on the river.”

David Shearer posted a video on YouTube showing a group of rafters coming across the fuselages in the river on July 4th:

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Latest Stories

  • News

    UPDATE: Police locate missing 4-year-old girl

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 27, 20:58

    Last updated at 10:20 p.m. on Wednesday, July 27 Four-year-old Alyiah Touyon has been located and is safe, according to Anchorage police spokesperson Jennifer Castro. “Officers located her down the street at a residence a couple blocks away,” said Castro. “She’s safe and okay.” About 30 people turned out to help search for Touyon, but […]

  • News

    DOC commissioner stands by decision to close Palmer prison after backlash from union

    by Alexis Fernandez on Jul 27, 20:40

    The Alaska Department of Corrections commissioner issued a statement Wednesday standing by his decision to close the Palmer Correctional Center, despite backlash from the union representing correctional officers. On Tuesday, the DOC announced plans to close the prison by the end of the year due to state budget cuts. The 500 minimum to medium security […]

  • News

    Economic outlook shows declining consumer confidence, expected job losses in Anchorage

    by Heather Hintze on Jul 27, 20:08

    Consumer confidence in Anchorage is at an all-time low, according to the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation’s (AEDC) three-year economic outlook. AEDC randomly surveyed 350 households in Anchorage which rated their optimism on a scale of 1 to 100. In the second quarter, for the first time since AEDC started the survey in 2011, consumer optimism […]

  • News

    War Birds take to the skies over Anchorage ahead of Arctic Thunder

    by Bonney Bowman on Jul 27, 19:24

    The Arctic Thunder Air Show and Open House is this weekend at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage, but it’s not all about the latest and greatest airplanes. World War II-era planes knows as War Birds are also part of the air show. The War Birds are part of the Wings of Freedom Commemorative Air Force, […]

  • Crime

    Anchorage man accused of targeting, assaulting registered sex offenders

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Jul 27, 16:47

    An Anchorage man has been arrested and indicted on multiple charges of assault, robbery, burglary and theft after conducting targeted attacks on registered sex offenders, according to a Wednesday release from the Alaska Attorney General’s Office. According to prosecutors, 41-year-old Jason Christian Vukovich attacked at least three men listed on the Alaska Sex Offender Registry […]

  • News

    Harry Brower Jr elected new North Slope Borough mayor

    by Associated Press on Jul 27, 16:43

    The North Slope Borough has a new mayor following a runoff election last week. Harry Brower Jr. was sworn Tuesday after absentee and questioned ballots were tallied and the results of the election were certified. He is the brother-in-law of Charlotte Brower, who was recalled as mayor earlier this year after she was linked to […]

  • Politics

    Murkowski raises more than $730K during latest quarter

    by Associated Press on Jul 27, 14:22

    U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski brought in more than $730,000 during the latest fundraising quarter. As of June 30, the Republican had nearly $3.1 million available. Murkowski faces no major opposition in next month’s GOP primary. Independent Margaret Stock, who will first appear on the November general election ballot, reported raising about $190,000 from April through […]

  • Lifestyle

    Federal Reserve keeps interest rates near record lows

    by CBS/AP on Jul 27, 12:01

    WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates unchanged while noting that near-term risks to the economy have diminished. “The Fed seems intent on telling the markets that a September hike is a possibility,” Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at the Lindsey Group, emailed. “They do this not because they are intent to raise but to […]