A truckload of hogs tipped on its side on Highway 12 east of Gadsby and tied up traffic Monday afternoon and into the evening.
Carrying hogs from Manitoba, the driver was travelling westbound on Highway 12 when his semi-truck wandered off the road about five kilometres east of Gadsby at about 3:30 p.m., reported Stettler RCMP.
“Upon arrival on the scene, the uninjured 65-year-old driver from Acme stated that while reaching for a bottle of pop on the passenger seat, he lost control of the vehicle,” Sgt. Duncan Babchuk said in a news release Tuesday.
The truck was owned by a Manitoba company, which was hauling 180 hogs for slaughter into Red Deer when the accident occurred near Range Road 16-5.
“Approximately 50 hogs from the shipment either died in the crash, or had to be dispatched on the scene,” Sgt. Babchuk said.
Stettler RCMP, Stettler Regional Fire Rescue and County of Stettler County peace officers responded to a 911 call.
The fire department was required to use the Jaws of Life and other cutting tools to gain access to the turned-over trailer to evacuate the surviving animals.
Stettler Auction Mart and local farmers assisted in transporting the animals.
Careless driving charges are pending against the driver of the semi-truck, police said.
Total loss of property and cleanup costs have yet to be determined, Sgt. Babchuk said.
Crews from Stettler Fire and Rescue were called to the scene to control traffic and help remove hogs from the trailer.
“We were on the scene to assist and we cut holes in the trailer to extricate the hogs,” said Deputy Fire Chief Etienne Brugman.
“Doors on the trailer could not be opened, because it was on its side.
“We were also there to help transport pigs to other trucks brought in by local farmers.”
He said fire crews were on the scene until about 9 p.m., when highway maintenance contractor Carillion arrived to provide traffic control and assist in the cleanup.
Traffic was reduced to one lane well into the night, as crews cleaned up and towed the vehicle away.