Train Derails Near Guttenberg
by Katie Wiedemann, Reporter
DUBUQUE - An early morning train derailment in Clayton County sent two people to the hospital and dumped four train engines into the Mississippi River.
It happened along an I-C and E railroad line just south of Guttenberg.
Officials say heavy rains and a big boulder are to blame.
Four locomotives derailed here a couple miles south of Guttenberg, this is known as the Bluff Slue area. The only access to the scene is by boat, a massive boulder fell from the top of that bluff.
Then the train ran into the boulder causing it to de-rail.
Just after three a.m. the four train cars ran off the track and dumped into the river.
The Iowa D-N-R says some of the derailed train cars spilled grain into the water. Two of the cars were carrying ethanol, but they don't seem to be leaking into the river.
Nearby boaters described what they heard to Clayton County deputy John Bell.
Bell said, "They had heard the rock fall and then approximately an hour later they heard something hit which we are pretty sure it was the train."
Wayne Meyer was sound asleep camping right above where the accident happened. He can't believe he didn't hear anything.
Meyer said, "Normal night sitting around the campfire and we heard a train about mid-night go through and never heard any crash or anything."
Firefighters rescued two I-C and E train employees who had been stranded for several hours. Both were taken to a local hospital to be examined for injuries.
Bell said, "Their injuries were minor. I believe it was more hypothermia, they were both very cold. They had both been in the water; they both had to swim out of the engines."
Bell said one of the engineers swam out of the dumped train and was stuck on top. He waited there for three hours until he was rescued and taken to safety.
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