Drivers heading through Portland on the highway recently had a unique commute. A truck overturned and its load spilled out all over the road and surrounding cars. The cargo it was carrying was 7,500 pounds of live eels. Not only were the cars assaulted with the live cargo, but they were also covered in slime from the slippery creatures.
According to a report from CBS News, the driver of the truck, 59 year-old Salvatore Tragale, stopped short at a construction zone. Hitting the brakes caused the full weight of his load to shift, and the truck tipped over. All told, there were 13 shipping containers full of the sea creatures known as Slime Eels that spilled onto the road.
Adding to the chaos was the fact that the Slime Eels lived up to their name. When they sense danger, these eels, formerly known as hagfish, release a slimy mucous from their glands to block any predator’s gills if they caught one. Presumably, the slime is used to disgust predators as well. These eels can secrete up to 20 liters at a time, so the mess was quite substantial.
The road was closed off for several hours while emergency services worked on cleaning up. The eels had to be removed using a bulldozer. The fire department used their high pressure fire hoses to rinse the slime off the road. The drivers, after exiting their cars, had to sludge through the slime to get to “dry land” and away from the mess. Several cars were damaged, but luckily, no one was hurt. One driver described the mess as “liquid eel”. Another said she will “never eat eel”.
The eels were reportedly making their way to Korea, where they are considered a delicacy. The coast of Oregon is a hot spot for the eels, although this batch probably will no longer have the taste that their intended consumers are looking for.
That wasn’t the only strange spill that blocked up Oregon’s highways that week. According to a report by KATU News, a few days before the eels, a tractor trailer hauling glue tipped over and spilled the sticky substance all over the road. It took hours to clean the area, since the type of glue involved hardens when activated. There were no injuries in that incident, but there were concerns the substance would end up in storm drains and get into the water system. Luckily, this was averted. While the glue isn’t hazardous, the hazardous materials response team was on site just in case. All told, a large portion of the 3000 quartz being transported ended up on the road, although officials say that it’s impossible to know the exact amount.
Luckily, in these strange accidents, no one was hurt. However, because of their size and what they could be transporting, a truck accident carries a significant risk of injury or even death. If you’ve been injured in an accident and live in Portland, get in touch with an attorney for a consultation on your case.