Massive Cleanup of Fuselages Continues on Montana River




Officials had initially predicted that the cleanup of debris from a train derailment in Montana's Clark Fork River, including three giant aircraft fuselages, would wrap up Sunday evening. Now, they say it will take at least until Tuesday.

Nineteen train cars jumped the tracks about 10 miles west of Alberton, Mont., July 3. Thirteen of the cars were carrying aircraft components, soybeans and denatured alcohol. Three of the cars with 747 fuselages plunged into the river near Fish Creek. Montana Rail Link officials insist that no alcohol or soybeans were spilled.

The cause of the derailment remains under investigation.

This morning's Missoulian reports that MRL declined to give a value for the aircraft components, which must be fished out of the water and hauled up the bank of the river using huge cables.

Meanwhile, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said there were no plans to close the Clark Fork River during the cleanup, but there have been temporary delays. For example, floaters were held up about half an hour Sunday afternoon as the fuselages and other debris were moved..

The Missoulian reports that members of the Whitewater Rescue Institute were on the river informing floaters of the incident and warning of hazards.

"You come through them, go right around the corner and boom, (the fuselages are) right there,” river guide Andrew Spayth told the Missoulian.“ We were all just saying, ‘Whoa, there’s full planes in the river, there’s cars everywhere, trees broken and bent.”

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