Conspiracy theorists are convinced that someone intentionally caused a railway bridge to collapse and poison the water supply for white conservatives.
On Saturday, a bridge over the Yellowstone River in Montana collapsed, sending portions of a freight train careening into the water. The seven railcars that went into the river were carrying molten sulfur and hot asphalt. Officials have taken multiple safety precautions, including shutting off drinking water intakes and implementing emergency measures at water treatment facilities due to the “potential hazmat spill,” per the Associated Press.
It’s not yet known what caused the bridge to collapse. The American Society of Civil Engineers 2021 Infrastructure Report Card found that over 45,000, or 7.5%, of America’s bridges are structurally deficient. The report gave Montana, where the Yellowstone River bridge collapsed, a “C” on its infrastructure report card.
For people who see conspiracies everywhere there look, there’s only one explanation: It was done on purpose.
“Sabotaged,” wrote one.
Another person suggested the collapse means “we’re at war.” They did not say who the country is supposedly battling.
One theory is that the government is intentionally allowing the nation’s infrastructure to degrade.
A more outlandish claim holds that the bridge was blown up.
As usual, many of the railway bridge conspiracy theories claim that the collapse is a distraction. It’s not clear what most think it was supposed to distract from, though some have suggested it is all designed to keep people from paying attention to the “Biden crime family.”
“Ok so the Sub didn’t work, Wagner group didn’t work, @PeteButtigieg your turn big guy…” wrote one. They were referring to the Titanic submersible disaster and the leader of a Russian paramilitary group temporarily turning on Vladimir Putin, both of which happened in the last week.
Others shared similar theories.
Few of the theories delved into why anyone would cause the Yellowstone bridge to collapse and dump hazardous materials into the river.
Far-right conspiracy theorist Lauren Witzke was among the handful of people who forayed into this arena. She believes it was done to poison white people.
“Meanwhile in Montana a freight train has crashed into the Yellowstone River and is believed to be leaking hazardous materials,” Witzke wrote on Telegram. “Another majority White region in America being poisoned with toxic sludge.”
She was referring to the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment from earlier this year. That trainwreck also spilled hazardous materials into a body of water and gave rise to a wide range of conspiracy theories.
However implausible, Witzke’s theory proved to have some cache with other similarly-minded people. Her followers blamed Jewish people and the deep state. Multiple Telegram channels, including one run by a chapter of the Proud Boys, uncritically shared her post.
Others seemingly independently came up with the same idea. “We knew it was only a matter of time until they poison[ed] the water. I’m seeing more frequent train derailments in red states. Why is that?” one wondered.
Another simply said, “Demonic Dems.”
Two of the nation’s largest drinking water crises in recent years occurred in the majority-Black cities of Flint, Michigan and Jackson, Mississippi. Numerous studies have found that racial minorities are exposed to higher amounts of pollution than white people.
On Monday, the Hill reported that the Montana Department of Environmental Quality said that testing continues but “at this time there are no known risks to the public drinking water.”
The Federal Railroad Administration continues investigating the incident.