What happens when you take 7,500 lbs. of slime eels, a truck accident and a highway? A huge, slimetastic mess.
A truck full of eels overturned on an Oregon highway on Thursday, filling the road with the moving sea creatures. The rather slimy accident took place on highway 101 just south of Depoe Bay in Oregon when the truck driver, Salvatore J. Tragale, couldn’t stop his vehicle at a highway construction site.
The truckful of slime eels were on their way to get shipped to Korea “for consumption.”
The truck was stuffed with 13 tanks of eels, also known as Pacific fish or hagfish. When Tragale lost control of his truck, all of the tanks crashed on the road, causing four cars to collide with one another.
An eyewitness, Erin Butler of McMinnville told FOX 12 that the scene was unbelievable.
“We were like, ‘What is that?’ And then you realize, 'The poor eels.' They were writhing and slimy, and it was unbelievable, just unbelievable,” she said. “It was disgusting. I will definitely never, ever eat eel.”
According to police, some of the people in the vehicles that got hit by the container suffered minor injuries. But no one else was injured.
Oregon State Police posted a photo on Twitter after reaching the highway showing damaged cars covered by the gooey eels. The police kept their sense of humor about the slimy mess.
But they also noted another problem is on the horizon.
In this heat... what is this going to start smelling like in the next few days??? pic.twitter.com/3FqSwXeSMP— Oregon State Police (@ORStatePolice) July 13, 2017
Mission “eel cleanup” wasn’t easy. The Oregonian reported that “hagfish slime — a type of mucus — can expand to more than five gallons when combined with water.”
HWY 101 mp 131 just got slimed. Fortunately no injuries. pic.twitter.com/jyBoZovzaz— Depoe Bay Fire Dist. (@DepoeBayFire) July 13, 2017
But the fire department and the Oregon Department of Transportation were successful in cleaning the slithery, slimy and smelly road within a few hours.
Soon the sticky situation was in control. But people were advised to stay cautious.
Meanwhile the truck driver defended the eels and advised people to like the creatures for what they are.
“People always find ways to be grossed out by strange marine creatures, but when you think about it, hagfish are magnificent. 300 million years ago, they figured out a good way to be a deep-sea scavenger and stuck with it,” he said.
“They’re efficient, tough and stubborn. They secrete a viscous slime that’s unlike anything else in this world. We know almost nothing about them, but what we do know is nothing short of incredible,” he added. “They are weird and they are wonderful.”