Right around noon Thursday Oregon State Police and emergency workers responded to US Highway 101 on Cape Foulweather for a semi-truck versus five-vehicle minor injury crash.
The 1993 Mitsubishi truck was being driven by Salvatore J. Tragale (age 59 from Lincoln City), was traveling northbound on US Highway 101. Tragale came upon roadway construction being completed by the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). An ODOT flagger had northbound traffic stopped and Tragale was unable to stop the vehicle in time. His truck was loaded with thirteen containers of a net weight of 7500 pounds of hagfish, commonly known as slime eels. The transfer of weight caused one of the containers to come off the truck bed and fly across the highway into the southbound lane. The other containers separated from the bed of the truck and spilled onto the highway.
When the container struck the southbound vehicles, it caused a chain reaction pushing four vehicles into each other. Fortunately there were only minor injuries reported from the first vehicle.
When Hagfish become stressed, they secrete a slime, which can be seen in the photos on the vehicles and on the highway. Depoe Bay Fire cleaned up the highway by hosing the Hagfish and slime off the roadway. US Highway 101 is now back open.
Hagfish are routinely harvested off the Oregon Coast and are put into containers and shipped live to South Korea where they are considered not only a delicacy, but also an aphrodisiac, which means high profits for South Korean fish markets. It is not known whether the crash will have any significant impact on the South Korean birth rate.