MISSOULA, Mont. -
Crews have removed the second of three commercial airplane bodies from a river embankment in western Montana after they tumbled off a train in a derailment. Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost says the second newly manufactured Boeing 737 fuselage was winched up Monday without any problems.
She says the third is expected to be removed from the Clark Fork River embankment near Alberton by the end of Tuesday.
Nineteen train cars derailed Thursday, spilling three fuselages into the river and three more near the tracks. Frost says the fuselages and their flatbed cars weigh a combined 70 tons each.
The fuselages and other airplane parts were being transported from a manufacturing plant in Wichita, Kansas, to Boeing facilities in Washington state.
Not far from where the derailment happened is Zoo Town Surfers, a company that takes guided rafting trips on the Clark Fork. Jason Shreder, Owner of Zoo Town Surfers, says his business has not been hurt and he is glad the river is still open.
"The way I see it, it could have been a lot worse with some toxic chemicals that could have really damaged the Clark Fork River," Shreder said. "I feel like we're constantly trying to clean the river up so it would have been a real bummer to put more waste into the river that we've been trying to clean up for the past ten years."
Railway officials are investigating the cause of the derailment. Multiple agencies, including Montana's Fish, Wildlife and Parks department, are monitoring the safety of the water and surrounding area.