• 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

  • Make the Alaska Aces part of your team

    by Dave Leval on Dec 02, 21:01

    Here’s your chance to make Stephen Perfetto part of your team. The Alaska Aces center is one of three from the team on the ballot for the annual Meigray- ECHL Fantasy Team. Left-wingers Garet Hunt and Tim Wallace are also on the ballot. You can only vote once during the period that ends Monday, Dec. […]

  • News

    Bean’s Cafe opens overnight shelter, operated by its own staff

    by Eric Ruble on Dec 02, 20:52

    About 50 people were expected to spend Friday night inside Bean’s Cafe. Executive director Lisa Sauder said the decision was made less than one week ago, after the municipality asked for help in accommodating people who were turned away from places like Brother Francis Shelter due to high demand. “The need is great. The temperatures […]

  • Lawmakers, school board consider alternative approach to classroom discipline

    by Liz Raines on Dec 02, 20:35

    School suspensions may become a thing of the past. Lawmakers and school board members are looking at a different approach to student discipline statewide. National studies have found that, for many incarcerated adults, their pathway to jail started with frequent suspensions in school. The trend is now known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Educators statewide are trying […]

  • News

    Economist: Alaska is in a recession

    by Associated Press on Dec 02, 19:26

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A state labor department economist says Alaska is in a recession, facing job losses across most sectors of the economy amid chronically low oil prices. Caroline Schultz says the recession likely began at the end of 2015. Job numbers released by the department Friday show average monthly employment in the first […]

  • Guns and marijuana: Murkowski says feds are going too far

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 02, 19:21

    Alaskans using marijuana may be forfeiting their right to bear arms. According to federal law, marijuana users can’t legally buy guns in the United States. At Granny’s Guns and Loan in Midtown, owner Barry Barr knows his firearms and the rules required to sell them. Each buyer must fill out federal Form 4473. “They have to […]

  • News

    APD asks community where officers should spend their time

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 02, 19:02

    Anchorage will soon have new police officers on the streets and for some people, they couldn’t come soon enough. Back-to-back academies, including a graduation on Thursday, are pushing the numbers up. APD spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said there are 40 more officers on the street then there were in January of 2015. She said by next […]

  • Lifestyle

    Avalanche experts: Check your safety gear before venturing into the backcountry

    by Heather Hintze on Dec 02, 18:40

    When it comes to being in the backcountry safety is a top priority. “I’d say, if I showed up and missed a piece of safety gear, it didn’t make it in the car I probably wouldn’t go,” skier Tad Denning said. “It’s hard to enjoy yourself up there when you know you’re not prepared.” Denning […]

  • Politics

    Trump speaks with Taiwan’s president, risking China tensions

    by Associated Press on Dec 02, 16:45

    NEW YORK (AP) – Donald Trump has spoken with the president of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979. It is highly unusual, perhaps unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a Taiwanese leader. The U.S. cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan when it shifted diplomatic […]