• 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

  • Lifestyle

    Riding a roller coaster may help pass kidney stones

    by Mary Brophy Marcus / CBS News on Sep 26, 18:58

    Hundreds of thousands of people head to the emergency room every year for painful kidney stones, but new research suggests some could find relief at Walt Disney World instead. After years of hearing patients mention that they passed a kidney stone while vacationing at amusement parks, Dr. David Wartinger, a professor emeritus at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, decided it was […]

  • News

    APD releases names of officers who fired guns during 42-hour standoff

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 26, 18:44

    The Anchorage Police Department has released the names of the six officers who fired their weapons during a standoff on Hillside that last more than 40 hours. The officers are Robert Wurst, Sgt. Steven Childers, Matthew Barth, Daniel Henegar, Jason Penman and Seth McMillan. “It was unknown during the time of the shooting whether any of the officers’ shots injured […]

  • Sports

    Marlins’ Jose Fernandez made sick woman’s wish come true day before he died

    by CBS News on Sep 26, 18:17

    The news of Maimi Marlins’ Jose Fernandez’s death hit one of his fans especially hard, because less than 24 hours earlier, she got to meet her favorite baseball player, CBS Miami reported. Cristina Llanes, 20, was on cloud nine Saturday afternoon after a big surprise — meeting Fernandez at Marlins Park. “We’re going to try to win […]

  • Lifestyle

    New trial over talc, cancer link: What you need to know

    by CBS/AP on Sep 26, 16:54

    Two lawsuits ended in jury verdicts worth $127 million. Two others were tossed out by a judge who said there wasn’t reliable evidence that the talc in Johnson & Johnson’s iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer. This week, yet another lawsuit is going to court, alleging that a California woman’s use of talcum powder over many years caused cancer. Her lawsuit […]

  • Lifestyle

    Only in Alaska: Lake Hood runway blocked by plane, then roaming moose

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 26, 16:47

    Lake Hood Seaplane Base staff were kept busy Monday afternoon on a runway when first a plane and then a moose blocked part of the runway. The runway was temporarily shutdown while staff dealt with both incidents. A Helio H-250 aircraft attempting to make a three-point landing had a hard touchdown when the landing gear […]

  • News

    Akiak man travels to White House for annual Tribal Nations Conference

    by KTVA CBS 11 News on Sep 26, 16:36

    Tribal leaders from across the U.S. gathered in Washington, DC for the eighth annual White House Tribal Nations Conference. Mike Williams Sr., of the Akiak Native Community, is one of those attending the conference, KYUK reports. This will be the fifth conference Williams has attended during the Obama administration, according to KYUK’s Anna Rose MacArthur. […]

  • DayBreak

    Mic Check in the Morning: John Budnik Band

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 26, 15:07

    Their recipe is two parts blues, one part jazz, a clove of country and a pinch of soul. The John Budnik Band was born out of a dimly lit bar’s open mic. Now, the group out of Palmer is sharing their music for the world to enjoy. Friday, the John Budnik Band joined Daybreak for […]

  • On-Air

    Teacher of the Week: Perry Lewis

    by Daybreak Staff on Sep 26, 15:06

    Perry Lewis’ classroom at Eagle River High School is his stage. His script is an adaptation of the history books. “I kind of joke that I’m a frustrated actor, and here’s my captive audience,” he said of his students. Perry’s performances are history lessons that could be characterized as dramatic comedies. And that could very […]