4 Penguins Die In Highway Accident

A tow truck operator works to move a truck after it overturned on US Highway 59 near Marshall, Texas Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2006. AP

A truck transporting zoo animals overturned Tuesday, spilling about two dozen penguins, tropical fish and an octopus onto an east Texas highway, authorities said.

"We had a penguin wreck," Department of Public Safety trooper Richard Buchanan said

The driver, Kelly Hodge, and a passenger sustained minor scratches and bruises. The Indianapolis Zoo employees were taking the animals to Moody Gardens in Galveston when Hodge lost control of the truck on U.S. Highway 59, Buchanan said.

The penguins were traveling in heavy tubs, which broke open when the truck crashed. Three penguins were killed by oncoming traffic; one died in the crash. Another penguin suffered a broken wing.

The octopus and fish were being transported in water-filled plastic bags. The octopus survived, but some of the fish died when the bags burst, Buchanan said.

Troopers and workers from the nearby Caldwell Zoo in Tyler helped corral the penguins and rescue the fish, Buchanan said.

The penguins were taken to Caldwell Zoo for examination and then sent on to Galveston by mid-afternoon.

"They were doing remarkably well for what they had been through," he said.
  • Andrew Bridgman

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