A truck carrying 7,500 pounds of live slime eels tipped over on highway 101 near Depoe Bay, Oregon, covering the road and nearby cars with fish and slime on Thursday, July 13.
The truck driver, Salvatore Tragale, 59, was approaching a construction zone and was flagged to stop. As he hit the brakes, the truck tipped, Oregon State Police said, according to CBS News.
Only minor injuries have been reported, but the unique characteristics of slime eel—properly called hagfish—have left the affected with an intense experience.
Hagfish are two foot-long scaleless marine animals. They have a skull, but no eyes, and no spine. They may look harmless, but inside their mouths are hidden rows of sharp teeth that allow them to drill their way into a fish carcass and eat it from the inside.
When disturbed, they instantly release large amounts of slime—up to four cups in less than a second. The thick slime expands in water and protects hagfish from predators. Slime from a single hagfish, when mixed with water, can expand up to five gallons, Atlas Obscura explained.
While the crash likely disturbed the truck full of hagfish enough, imagine how disturbed they got when the first responders tried to clean them away from the highway with fire hoses and bulldozers.
— Depoe Bay Fire Dist. (@DepoeBayFire) July 13, 2017
Oregon State Police and Depoe Bay Fire District had a field day on social media, posting pictures and videos of scenes that invoke a certain 1980s Hollywood blockbuster.
“Cleanup on Aisle 101! We’ve been #Slimed!” the police commented on Facebook.
It took seven hours to reopen the coastal highway some 100 miles southwest of Portland.
The hagfish were headed to South Korea, where they’re considered a delicacy.
Commenters on Facebook were getting queasy at the sight of the bizarre scene of goo.
“This is the stuff nightmares are made of!” commented Kiley Konruff.
“Does the insurance cover ‘A Sliming’?” asked Pamula Desantis.
“I EEL YOUR PAIN OREGON STATE POLICE,” commented Kevin Forsythe.
In case you haven’t already seen enough, here are a few videos about hagfish.
Here you can see the slime’s consistency.
Here you can see how the slime fights off predators.