BNSF train line reopens, crews still working to remove leaked fuel from the river

Derailed train

BOUNDARY CO, Idaho. — The Burlington Northern Railroad train line reopened on Saturday after one of its trains derailed earlier in the week, prompting a rescue mission for three crew members on board.

An initial report indicated a rock slide caused the three locomotives and one car to leave the tracks and plunge into the Kootenai River on Thursday. According to the Kootenai Valley Times, the crew from Spokane crawled out of the front engine and sat on top of it while awaiting rescuers.

READ: BNSF train derails into Kootenai River, crew members rescued by sheriff’s boat

At the time of the derailment, one of the locomotives spilled an unknown amount of fuel into the river.

In a release sent out Saturday, Boundary County Emergency Management said cleanup crews are still on site and recovery efforts have shifted from containing the leaked fuel to reclaiming it.

As of Friday, Boundary County EM said BNSF had deployed roughly 2,700 feet of containment booms to the area in an effort to absorb the leaked fuel along a 10-mile stretch of the river.

On Saturday, crews placed an additional 4,300 feet of containment booms.

The lead locomotive is still in the water, Boundary County EM said, and crews are figuring out the best way to remove the train. In the meantime, they have drained the remaining fuel from the second engine in order to avoid a larger spill.

Boundary County officials have placed a boating restriction that will stay in place through January 8.