Train derails in Wisconsin, plunging 2 containers into the Mississippi River : NPR
Mark Hoffman/USA Today Network via Reuters
A freight train carrying hazardous materials derailed in southwestern Wisconsin on Thursday, injuring four employees and sending two containers into the Mississippi River.
Lena Kent, a spokeswoman for the train’s operator, BNSF Railway, told NPR that “the volumes involved do not pose a risk to the river or nearby communities.” An absorbent boom was placed in the area as a precaution.
The incident happened around 12:15 pm local time in DeSoto, a village near the border of Wisconsin and Iowa. Two of the train’s three engines, as well as 10 cars, went off the track to some extent, she said.
All four crew members were transported to a hospital for minor injuries and were released as of Friday morning, according to Kent.
The cause of the derailment is still unclear.
The train, destined for Chicago, was carrying lithium-ion batteries, paint and oxygen containers — all of which are flammable and could pose a threat to the environment.
According to Kent, the two containers that entered the Mississippi River did not contain any hazardous material — although some cars containing lithium-ion batteries washed ashore.
BNSF is working with local and state agencies to investigate the cause, as well as make arrangements to remove the derailed cars from the site.
The National Transportation Safety Board is aware of the derailment, but is not involved in the investigation, Jennifer Gabris, an NTSB spokeswoman, told NPR.
Thursday evening, Crawford County Emergency Management, which responded to the incident, wrote on Facebook“There is currently no damage to the community or the environment, but Desoto Fire Department is working closely with BNSF personnel throughout this cleanup process to prepare for any unknowns.”
Meanwhile, the main track remains blocked in both directions and it is not clear when it will reopen.