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Boeing fuselages to be pulled from Montana river

  • Associated Press
  • Published Saturday, July 5, 2014, at 7:34 p.m.
  • Updated Monday, July 7, 2014, at 12:29 p.m.

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— Crews on Sunday will attempt to remove three Boeing 737 fuselages that tumbled down a steep bank and into the Clark Fork River in western Montana after a train derailed.

Derailed cars have been cleared from the tracks and traffic on the line has resumed, said Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost. Trains were rerouted to other lines after the derailment occurred Thursday afternoon 10 miles west of Alberton near Fish Creek Road and Interstate 90.

Frost said MRL will begin to remove the remaining cars and aircraft fuselages from the river Sunday, but it’s unclear how long that process will take.

Frost said Saturday that it’s unclear the type of challenge involved because it’s the first time the company has faced such a task.

No one was injured when 19 cars derailed. The cause of the derailment is under investigation.

Boeing Co. spokeswoman Lynn Steinberg said the seven cars of aircraft components included six 737 fuselages, as well as parts for 747s and 777s. The components were being transported from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita to an assembly plant in Renton, Washington.

Three other fuselages also fell off but stayed on land. Frost says Boeing has had workers at the scene assessing the damage.

Spirit released a statement Saturday that read "Spirit AeroSystems has been working closely with our customer since we learned of the incident and continue supporting as needed. The Spirit team's resolve was tested with an even greater challenge as recently as the 2012 Wichita tornado. We are confident that, working together, we will overcome whatever challenges may be presented."

A team from Boeing was on the scene Friday to determine the status of the components and work with MRL to retrieve them. The team had yet to issue a full evaluation, and it was unknown whether the parts are still be usable.

Contributing: Seattle Times

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