Train carrying hazardous materials derails and bridge collapses into Montana’s Yellowstone River

‘Multiple tanker cars were damaged and are leaking petroleum products’ sheriff’s office said

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Sunday 25 June 2023 13:09 BST
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A train carrying asphalt and sulphur derailed into Montana’s majestic Yellowstone River after a bridge collapse, officials reported on Saturday.

Water treatment facilities in the cities of Laurel, Billings and Lockwood have shut down headgates due to the spill from the incident, and residents are being asked to conserve water.

The substances being transported were confirmed to The Associated Press by David Stamey, Stillwater County’s chief of emergency services.

Mr Stamey said there was no immediate danger for the crews working at the site, and the hazardous material was being diluted by the swollen river.

Eight rail cars were either in the river or on the section of the damaged bridge that fell into it.

“Multiple tanker cars were damaged and are leaking petroleum products near the Yellowstone River,” the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s office said earlier in a social media post.

Train derails into Yellowstone River after bridge collapses
Train derails into Yellowstone River after bridge collapses (YCSO)

“There is no immediate threat to Yellowstone County. Precautions are being put in place.”

The site of the derailment is around 110 miles from the world-famous Yellowstone National Park, which was the first national park established in the US in 1872.

It took place in an area of the Yellowstone River Valley that is surrounded by farmland and ranchland. The river flows away from the national park at this location.

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks said that parts of the Yellowstone and Stillwater Rivers are closed.

“On 24 June 2023 at approximately 0600 there was a train derailment on the rail bridge that crosses the Yellowstone River in Stillwater County Montana,” the agency said, in a statement.

“The bridge collapsed and there are multiple rail cars in the Yellowstone River. We have not determined the cause of the derailment,” said Stillwater County Disaster and Emergency Services.

The agency added that local and state emergency responders were coordinating with federal bodies.

Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services (DES) says the cities and irrigation canal companies are implementing protective measures due to the spill.

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