Planes from a Train, Blocking Boats

In the United States, the 4th of July is known for colorful displays of fireworks and patriotic pageantry. This year Independence Day brought about another type of spectacular display in Western Montana, when a freight train derailed sending Boeing aircraft fuselages into the Clark Fork River.

The train derailment happened between the Saint John’s and Tarkio state fishing access sites, which are roughly 45-miles west of Missoula. The Clark Fork River is popular with rafters, so lots of awesome amateur pictures and video emerged. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks temporarily closed that stretch of the river to allow for debris removal (hence blocking boats), but has since reopened the waterway.

The spectacular images emerging from this scene propelled the derailment story into news outlets all over the world (for instance: The Guardian, India Times, WSJ, USA Today). At SigActs, we always find it interesting to assess where a news story originates, and which publishers choose to carry it to their audiences.

In this case, we saw the story first reported by local television news stations in the states of Kansas, Washington and Montana. This made sense when we learned that the plane fuselages began their journey at a Spirit AeroSystems plant in Wichita, Kansas, and were destined for a Boeing facility in Renton, Washington before they made their unexpected stop outside of Superior, Montana. Before long though, the spectacular nature of this event propelled the story to local, international and niche news outlets all over the world.

SigActs Derailment MapA SigActs map depicting the origin of the cargo (Green icon), the intended
delivery site (Orange icon) and the derailment location (Red icon).

The SigActs feed of real time event data is a great way to visually and quantitatively identify where news is happening, and what news outlets are reporting on events.

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Posted in Aviation, Emergency Preparedness, Infrastructure, Railroad

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