NATIONAL NEWS

Train derails in Wisconsin, sends 2 cars into river

Apr 27, 2023, 1:20 PM | Updated: 4:10 pm

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A freight train derailed along the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin Thursday, possibly injuring one crew member and sending two cars into the water, officials said.

The train derailed in Crawford County at about 12:15 p.m. Two of the train’s three locomotives and an unknown number of cars carrying “freight of all kinds” derailed on the eastern edge of the river, BNSF Railway spokesperson Lena Kent said.

All crew members were accounted for, with one receiving a medical evaluation, she said.

Crawford County Emergency Management Specialist Marc Myhre told WKBT-TV that about 20 BNSF Railway cars were involved.

Two cars went into the Mississippi River, but neither contained hazardous materials, Kent said. Some of the containers that derailed on shore contained paint and lithium ion batteries, and a boom was being placed in the impacted area, she said.

“The volumes involved don’t pose a risk to the river or the communities,” Kent said.

BNSF will work with local and state agencies as appropriate, she said.

The main track is blocked in both directions and an estimated time for reopening the track was not available, Kent said. BNSF had personnel at the scene and the cause of the incident was under investigation.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page that there was no need to evacuate.

The Federal Railroad Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation that regulates safety across the nation’s railroads, tweeted that it was sending a team to the site to gather information and help local emergency workers.

Gov. Tony Evers tweeted that he was briefed on the derailment and is getting regular updates from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources and state emergency management officials. His spokesperson, Britt Cudaback, said in a short telephone interview that it wasn’t clear if any environmental contamination has happened.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources spokesperson Katie Grant did not immediately respond to an email asking if the derailment has resulted in any environmental contamination.

The derailment comes almost three months after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio. Officials there decided to release and burn toxic vinyl chloride from five tanker cars to prevent a catastrophic explosion.

Hundreds of people had to evacuate in Raymond, Minnesota, last month after a BNSF train hauling ethanol and corn syrup derailed and caught fire.

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Train derails in Wisconsin, sends 2 cars into river