The fuselages for six 737 aircraft caught in a Montana train derailment were crushed and baled last week, the manager of the scrapping operation said Friday.
Pacific Steel and Recycling’s Missoula branch recycling manager, Mason Mikkola, said in an interview that the company brought out a portable baler it uses to crush cars, and turned the six 737 bodies into large metal cubes.
“We’ve never done fuselages before,” Mikkola said. “This is something a little different.”
A Boeing spokesman declined Friday to provide an update on the state of the six fuselages.
Representatives from Boeing and its insurance company were on site, Mikkola said.
“They are documenting, making sure every single piece of those fuselages gets scrapped,” Mikkola said. “We are hand picking up anything that broke off.”
Boeing wanted all of the fuselage remains to be shredded, he said, and Pacific Steel’s shredding plant outside of Boise would do the job.
Mikkola said he didn’t know what Boeing will do with the mixture of shredded aluminum and titanium.
“I assume most of that stuff will get exported,” Mikkola said, “Not much interest domestically, because of the mix of alloys.”
The 737 fuselages fell off the train when it derailed July 3 near Alberton, Montana. Three went down the riverbank toward the Clark Fork River, with two landing in the water. One fuselage near the tracks was seen to be broken in two.
They were being shipped from Spirit AeroSystems, which builds the fuselages in Wichita, to the Renton plant that assembles 737s at a rate of 42 a month.
The cause of the derailment is still under investigation.
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