NTSB to investigate freight train derailment on Arizona-New Mexico border


National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), along with other federal authorities, is investigating Friday’s freight train derailment on the Arizona-New Mexico border. 

The BNSF freight train was carrying gasoline and odorless propane when it derailed near Manuelito, New Mexico, according to the NTSB. 

The derailed train caught fire, causing black smoke to come out of the cars, and resulted in the closure of the nearby interstate. No injuries were reported from the incident.

“I-40 EB remains closed at US 191. Expect delays & seek an alternate route. There is no estimated time to reopen the highway,” the Arizona Department of Transportation said on social media platform X.

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is in charge of the investigation. NTSB personnel are traveling to the scene, according to NTSB. 

FRA safety personnel arrived on the scene Friday night and will be working with state, Tribal and local agencies. 

The Apache County Sheriff’s Office, which was one of the law enforcement units that responded to the incident, said in an update the derailment is being treated as a hazardous materials incident. 

Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) expressed concern regarding the incident.

“I am deeply concerned about the train derailment along the Arizona-New Mexico border and am monitoring the situation closely,” Hobbs said. “ My administration is in contact with Secretary [Pete] Buttigieg and the New Mexican government. As we learn more about the situation on the ground, the State of Arizona stands ready to deploy the resources necessary to keep our communities safe.” 

Navajo Nation President Buu Nygren said his administration was concerned about the safety and well-being “of our citizens and those directly affected by this incident.” 

Nygren said he spoke with Buttigieg regarding the derailment. 

“My administration is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and BNSF to carry out precise evaluations of the incident,” Nygren said in a statement. “These specialists will join the resources from the Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Police Department and other tribal resources that are currently on the ground securing the impacted zone.”

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