Footage captures oil leaking into Iowa river after crude car derailment

Crude rail

HMN-Footage from drones captures the devastation  left after a train carrying crude oil derailed, and began leaking into an Iowa river. (Des Moines Register)

Video provided by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office provides an aerial view of a train derailment and oil spill at the Sioux and Lyon County border.

Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, Courtesy Video

A 31-car freight train carrying crude oil derailed early Friday, forcing the evacuation of some Iowans in northwest Iowa.

 The train derailed at about 4:30 a.m. Friday, said Andy Williams, a spokesperson for BNSF Railway Co. There were no injuries, he said.

It’s unclear what caused the train to derail. Williams said BNSF crews and a hazmat team are on the scene.

“We don’t know how much is leaking or how bad it is,” Lyon County Sheriff Stewart VanderStoep said. “We’ve got some stuff out on the water now to soak it up, but the whole area is blocked off.”

Jacob Faber, who lives nearby, said many in the area had spent the previous night volunteering with flood recovery efforts, trying to fight off the rising waters that were blocking roads and covering expanses of land.

“There was water on the train track and the train tried to go over it,” Faber said.

Kevin Van Otterloo, mayor of Rock Valley, said the oil had washed downriver to Rock Valley by about 7:30 a.m.

Water is spilling over the bloated banks of Rock River, which is supposed to crest over 21 feet downstream in Rock Valley midday. There is water running over the road north of the track, VanderStoep said Friday morning.

“There’s water everywhere, to see what’s actually causing it is hard,” VanderStoep said. “Something must have been weak or gave way, I don’t know.”

The derailment forced a mandatory evacuation for Garfield Avenue between 270th and 280th streets in rural Doon, in Lyon County.

Williams said “a small number of residents living a half mile away from the scene” were impacted by the evacuation.

Faber, a 25-year-old construction worker from Rock Valley, lives about seven miles from the crash. He said here were about 30 giant tankers “thrown around like Legos” across the flood waters.

He took drone footage from a friend’s nearby property. The entire area smelled like exhaust fumes, he said.

“You can’t describe how strong that oil smell is when you’re close to it,” Faber said.

Garfield Avenue south of Doon will be closed “for an extended period of time,” according to a news release from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office.

Sioux Falls Argus Leader reporter Patrick Anderson contributed to this story.

Check back as this story develops.

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One comment

  1. It certaily appears that the train was going far to fast for the condition of the tracks. It also looks like the tracks were submerged, which should have made the trestle off limits for travel, no exceptions. The failure verifies this conclusion.

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