A freight train fell into the Yellowstone River in Montana on Saturday morning after parts of a bridge collapsed causing many tanker cars to rupture on impact.
Emergency officials said molten sulfur and asphalt were discharged from the tanker cars at about 6:45 a.m. when parts of a train trestle gave way on a bridge roughly five miles east of Reed Point, Montana, which is about 110 miles northeast of Yellowstone National Park.
Train crews were not injured in the accident, officials said.
No Danger To Yellowstone
The flow of the Yellowstone River is northeasterly and the spillage poses no threat to Yellowstone National Park.
Chemicals from the crash are expected to reach Billings — just over 55 miles away — at around 8 p.m.
Emergency officials told the Billings Gazette that the high volume of water will help to dilute the chemicals.
"The chemicals will be fairly benign with the river as high as it is," Columbus, Montana Fire Chief Rich Cowger said.
The cause of the derailment is unknown and officials said it would likely be a lengthy investigation.
In the meantime, fishing accesses in the area are closed and water treatment plants, irrigation districts, and industrial companies are taking “appropriate precautions,” the Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Office said.
“I’m monitoring the train derailment in Stillwater County, and the state is standing by to support as Montana Rail Link and county officials assess their needs,” Montana Gov. Greg Gianforte said Saturday.
Some users of Twitter immediately politicized the accident blaming embattled Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg for the incident.
"Yo @PeteButtigieg. America's daily train wrecks are continuing under your watch. When are you going to start working on the problem?," wrote @amuse, a popular conservative commentator.
Another claimed because the bridge wasn't in an "underserved community," that it is not a priority of the Biden administration.
"I guess this bridge wasn’t serving underserved communities @PeteButtigieg? Maybe we need to focus on all communities?" wrote Patrick Rafferty.
Jimmy Orr can be reached at email@example.com.