January 3, 2019: BNSF Train Plunges into Idaho River

A BNSF cargo train derailed around 9:00  Wednesday evening sending the engine into the Kootenai River near Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. The local sheriff’s office, search and rescue personnel, as well as ambulance and fire teams were deployed to rescue the train’s engineer and crew members who were trapped inside the partially submerged locomotive.
Boundary County Sheriff’s Marine rescue crews were able to reach the engine by boat and rescue the uninjured crew. The engine and one other railcar were partially submerged in the river and leaked an unknown amount of diesel fuel into the water. The remaining 113 cars remained intact on the tracks. Some of those cars did contain hazardous materials but there was no evidence of any product leaking.
Rob Cherot, one of the rescue pilots, stated “Once we got onto the location we had good visibility above the wreckage except for the river, which was socked in with fog on one-half of the river, which was the side the train was on.”
Early reports indicate the derailment was caused by a rock slide but officials are still investigating. Crews are working to remove the locomotive from the river and have deployed multiple containment booms to minimize the environmental impact of  the spilled diesel fuel. Local officials issued a state of emergency so they could restrict boat access around the derailment site while cleanup efforts are ongoing.

Derailed train plunges into river in Idaho, crew rescued by boat