Highway commuters found themselves stuck in a particularly sticky, and significantly stinky, situation when a truck carrying about 9,000 kilograms of fish guts flipped over and spilled its contents onto Hwy 4.
The single vehicle collision occurred about 5 km East of the West Coast junction on July 16 around 11 a.m.
â€œThe semi truck had flipped over onto the driverâ€™s side and slid across the highway, and into the ditch up against a bit of a rock face, spilling its contents,â€ Const. Marcel Midlane of the Ucluelet RCMP told the Westerly News.
He said the driver of the roughly 20-metre truck was maneuvering through a series of s-turns when a combination of speed and the shifting weight of 9,000 kilograms of fish offal caused the truck to topple over.
â€œThe indications at the scene, and the evidence presented to us, was that speeding was likely a factor in the collision; and the driver was ticketed for speeding,â€ Midlane said.
â€œThe last s-turn goes to the right. Itâ€™s kind of a sweeping turn and then all of a sudden it gets a little bit sharper…The load was shifting around because it was liquid and, coming through the curves, it was likely that the shifting weight played a factor in the truck going over.â€
The driver was transported to the Tofino General Hospital and treated for minor injuries.
â€œIt was very fortunate there was nobody coming the other direction at that point because the highway was quite busy that day,â€ Midlane said.
â€œThere was no oncoming traffic, which weâ€™re very fortunate for because we would have likely been dealing with a serious injury or fatality.â€
Along with the fish guts, the truck also leaked oil and hydraulic fluid onto the road and Absorb-Allâ€”a product similar to cat litterâ€”was used to soak these liquids up, according to Midlane.
â€œThere was some hydraulic fluid and some oil that had leaked out of the truck onto the roadway and all that was cleaned up properly,â€ he said adding the Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade sprayed down the area.
â€œThey washed the road down, which was full of stink and guts, and cleaned up the area and got some of the slipperiness off the road.â€
He said a pumper truck arrived to suck up as much of the mess as possible and the remaining offal was scraped into a ditch and covered with gravel.
BCâ€™s Ministry of Environment was notified as was Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement and no environmental concerns were reported, according to Midlane.
He said the truck was traveling from a fish plant in Tofino and was on its way to a facility in Parksville where the fish guts would have been turned into sea soil.