Two train cars plunge into river after Wisconsin train derailment

A freight train derailed Thursday along the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin, sending two cars plunging into the water in the latest in a series of rail accidents that have brought scrutiny on the industry.

Crawford County Emergency Management Specialist Marc Myhre told WKBT-TV that about 20 BNSF Railway cars were involved in the mishap between the villages of DeSoto and Ferryville, about 30 miles south of La Crosse.

The two that went into the river didn't contain hazardous materials, BNSF spokesperson Lena Kent. Some of the containers that derailed on shore contained paint and lithium ion batteries, and a boom was being placed in the impacted area, she said.

“The volumes involved don’t pose a risk to the river or the communities,” Kent said.

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said on its Facebook page there was no need to evacuate.

Kent said the derailment took place around 12:15 p.m. CT. and all the crew members were accounted for, with one getting medical attention.

Britt Cudaback, spokesman for Gov. Tony Evers, told The Associated Press it wasn’t clear if any environmental contamination has occurred.

Some recent derailments have raised serious environmental concerns. Most notably, a Feb. 3 accident in East Palestine, Ohio, set off a fire and spewed toxic chemicals into the air. On March 30, the Minnesota town of Raymond was evacuated after a train carrying highly flammable ethanol derailed, igniting a fire.

Recovery work is shown at the scene of a train derailment along Hwy 35 Thursday, April 27, 2023 in Crawford County just south of DeSoto, Wis. A freight train derailed along the Mississippi River in southwestern Wisconsin Thursday, possibly injuring one crew member and sending two cars into the water, officials said. (Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP) ORG XMIT: WIMIL102

The cause of the accident was being investigated, Kent said.

U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden of Wisconsin, whose district covers the area of the derailment, tweeted that it took place south of the Lansing Bridge in Ferryville.

“We have begun to coordinate with BNSF, FEMA, Wisconsin Emergency Management, the state and national Departments of Transportation, Crawford County officials, and @RepAshleyHinson, whose District may also be impacted, to get answers on what occurred,’’ Van Orden said.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Two train cars plunge into river in Wisconsin train derailment