cbc.ca (© Copyright: (C) Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, http://www.cbc.ca/aboutcbc/discover/termsofuse.html#Rss)
Updated: Mon, 07 Jul 2014 00:07:23 GMT | By The Associated Press, cbc.ca

Attempts to pull Boeing fuselages from Montana river going 'extremely slow'



This Saturday, July 5, 2014 photo by Brock Sarbeck provided by Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting shows a freight train that derailed near Alberton in western Montana, sending three cars carrying aircraft components down a steep embankment and into the Clark Fork River on Thursday, July 3. Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost says 19 cars from a westbound train derailed. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the derailment is under investigation. (© AP Photo/Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting, Brock Sarbeck)

This Saturday, July 5, 2014 photo by Brock Sarbeck provided by Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting shows a freight train that derailed near Alberton in western Montana, sending three cars carrying aircraft components down a steep embankment and into the Clark Fork River on Thursday, July 3. Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost says 19 cars from a westbound train derailed. No injuries were reported, and the cause of the derailment is under investigation. (AP Photo/Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting, Brock Sarbeck) Wiley E. Waters Whitewater Rafting/Brock Sarbeck/Associated Press

Three airplane fuselages that slid down a steep embankment into a river following a train derailment in northern Montana state could take until Tuesday to remove, railroad officials said Sunday.

"The progress is going extremely slow," Montana Rail Link spokeswoman Lynda Frost said. "If we get one up today, it would appear it will take one day each to get them out."

She said a crew of 50 with eight heavy-equipment machines was working together to hoist up the three Boeing 737 fuselages, the large, central portions of planes that hold passengers.

Six fuselages were aboard a westbound train when 19 cars derailed Thursday, sending the three fuselages into the Clark Fork River. The three remaining plane sections also fell off but stayed on land. No one was injured in the derailment, which is under investigation.

Not something 'you expect to float past'

Boeing said in a statement that it has experts at the scene to assess the damage. Marc Birtel, director of media relations, said Sunday that he didn't have information on what the experts have decided.

The fuselages were travelling from a Spirit AeroSystems plant in Wichita, Kansas, to a Boeing facility in Renton, Washington, to be assembled into airliners.

Meanwhile, rafters on the popular Clark Fork River have a surreal view as they pass the fuselages near a river feature called Mermaid Rock.

"They really get to see the enormous size of those aircraft," said Josh Flanagan of Wiley E. Waters, a rafting company. "It's not something you expect to float past when you're on a river trip."

more video