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First Class Rapids: Boeing Plane Parts End Up In Montana River


There’s a strange sight greeting rafters on a Montana river, where three aircraft pieces fell into the water after a train derailment. Word on the street says rafters are riding “first class” rapids.

Crews are working to get three Boeing airplane fuselages out of a Montana river after the train carrying them derailed over the weekend.

Three Boeing 737 airplane fuselages slid down an embankment and into the Clark Fork River when a train derailed in Western Montana on Thursday. Railroad officials say the pieces won’t be removed until Tuesday at the earliest.

Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost told the Associated Press that crews will only be able to remove one piece per day. About 50 people are working at site using heavy equipment.

The airplane parts along with soybeans and denatured alcohol were headed for Boeing’s final-assembly plant in Renton, Washington when the 19 cars of the train derailed near the Alberton Gorge — about 35 miles west of Missoula. No one was injured and the incident is currently under investigation.

Boeing has experts on the scene to assess the damage, but estimates aren’t available yet on how much the cleanup will cost.

The Missoulian reports that Montana wildlife officials don’t plan to close the river during clean up, but floaters may be occasionally delayed as parts are removed.


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