Freight Train Derails into the Kootenai River in North Idaho

BNSF freight train derailed near the Montana-Idaho border Wednesday night

By Justin Franz

A BNSF Railway freight train derailed near the Montana-Idaho border east of Bonners Ferry on Wednesday night.

No one was injured in the incident but the train’s engineer and conductor were briefly trapped inside a partially submerged locomotive that had fallen into the Kootenai River. First responders were later able to reach the crew and take them to safety.

BNSF spokesperson Gus Melonas said containment booms have been deployed because some fuel from the locomotive leaked into the river.

Melonas said the derailment remains under investigation but officials believe it was most likely caused by a rockslide.

The derailment has all but halted rail service through Northwest Montana, including Amtrak’s Empire Builder. It’s unclear how long it will take the railroad to reopen the tracks.


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