OAN’s Roy Francis
1: 49 PM – Saturday, June 24, 2023
A bridge in Montana that crosses the Yellowstone River collapsed on Saturday morning causing several cars of a freight train carrying hazardous material to plunge into the river.
Andy Garland, spokesman for the Montana Rail Link, said that several tanks are partially submerged in the river in Stillwater County about 40 miles east of Billings. He also said that railroad crews were already on the scene. He also reported that there were no injuries after the collapse and derailment.
“We are committed to addressing any potential impacts to the area as a result of this incident and working to understand the reasons behind the accident,” Garland said.
David Stamey, Stillwater County’s Chief of emergency services said that the cars that plunged into the river were carrying asphalt and sulfur. Officials shut down water intakes along the river while they evaluated the danger.
According to The Associated Press, yellow liquid was seen pouring out of the cars into the river.
Stamey explained that the hazardous material was being diluted by the swollen river and that there was no immediate danger for anyone onsite.
The river has been swollen lately due to recent heavy rains, though it is unclear if that had contributed to the collapse of the bridge.
The Montana Disaster Emergency Services has also been reportedly notified.
Officials said that they had instituted emergency measures at all nearby water treatment plants due to the incident and the potential hazmat spill, and asked nearby residents to conserve water.
However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sulfur is a common element that is regularly used as a fertilizer as well as an insecticide, fungicide, and rodenticide and that there is no cause for alarm.
Governor Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) said that he was monitoring the situation and that the state is ready to support as the scene is being assessed.
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