In what was surely the most thrilling day in the history of the Oregon Department of Transportation, a flatbed truck spilled 7500 pounds of slime eels onto US 101, the Oregonian reports.
Eel truck driver Salvatore J. Tragale, who had been delivering the hagfish (“slime eels”) to be shipped to Korea for consumption, lost control of the flatbed when he came upon highway construction; subsequently the 13 containers of eels spilled onto the road, causing a four-car pile-up, FOX 12 Oregon reports. No humans were seriously injured. The thousands of perished hagfish don’t seem to be garnering much sympathy, possibly due to their reputation for boring into wounded and dying animals and sucking out their innards.
The Depot Bay Fire District tweeted photos of the aftermath and progress videos of “Operation Eel Cleanup”:
The task was certainly not easy, as the Oregonian points out that “Hagfish slime – a type of mucus – can expand to more than five gallons when combined with water.” Hagfish excrete mucous when captured or held, so hosing them off was the better route. Despite the challenges, the Fire Department and the Oregon Department of Transportation were able to get the road cleared within a few hours.
The Oregon State Police were amused.
This is the perfect story.
By 4 PM, the roads were cleared and the Oregonian added this update: “No details were provided on how the slime was cleared or the fate of the eels.”
Please, please, update us on the eels as soon as possible.
Correction 7/14: A reader has brought to our attention that this was not, as stated, “the most thrilling day in the history of the Oregon Department of Transportation.” That date was in November 1970, when the Oregon State Highway Division was tasked with blowing up an eight-ton whale carcass, resulting in a terrifying hailstorm of blubber chunks large enough to crush the roof of a vehicle parked approximately 400 yards from the scene.