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Train derails into Mississippi River in Southwest Wisconsin

At least a dozen train cars fell off the tracks after a train derailment in Ferryville, Wisconsin
train derailment
Posted at 3:13 PM, Apr 27, 2023

FERRYVILLE, Wisc. — At least a dozen train cars fell off the tracks after a train derailment in Ferryville, Wisconsin on Thursday.

Images and videos on social media show the train cars in the Mississippi River.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) confirmedThursday a train derailed near De Soto, nearly 30 miles south of La Crosse, around 12:15 p.m. Two of the three locomotives and an unknown number of cars carrying freight derailed on the bluff side of the Mississippi River, BNSF says.

BNSF Railway spokesperson Lena Kent said two cars also went into the river but did not contain hazardous materials. Kent also shared that on shore, some of the containers contained paint and lithium-ion batteries.

The main track was blocked in both directions.

“The immediate concern is the safety of all those involved and surrounding this incident," Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) Secretary Thompson said. “WisDOT is working diligently to ensure that traffic is diverted to safe roads and bridges while we thoroughly evaluate this event."

A spokesperson with the Allamakee County Sheriff's Office in Iowa says the Black Hawk Bridge is down, CNN reports. The bridge connects Lansing, Iowa to western Wisconsin.

WisDOT said in a statement, "WisDOT staff tracked rail cars that floated downstream soon after the derailment and passed under the WIS 82/Lansing Causeway before becoming mired along shore. The WIS 82 bridge has been closed since Tuesday (April 25) due to high water and WisDOT will thoroughly inspect the structure for any possible damage."

Crew members are accounted for and one is receiving a medical evaluation.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers tweeted Thursday afternoon that he is receiving regular updates on the incident from the WisDOT and the state's Department of Natural Resources, among other responding agencies. He also shared that he has reached out to the governors of Iowa and Illinois.

It is not yet clear what happened to cause the derailment. The Associated Press reports that Evers' spokesperson, Britt Cudaback, said it also isn't clear if there was any environmental contamination.

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