Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Day 68° Partly Cloudy
News >  Nation

All 100 lab monkeys accounted for after several escape crash

UPDATED: Sat., Jan. 22, 2022

Associated Press

Associated Press

DANVILLE, Pa. – The last of the escaped monkeys from the crash of a truck towing a trailer load of 100 of the animals was accounted for by late Saturday, a day after the pickup collided with a dump truck on a Pennsylvania highway, authorities said.

Several monkeys had escaped following Friday’s collision, Pennsylvania State Police said. But only one had remained unaccounted for as of Saturday morning, prompting the Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies to launch a search for it amid frigid weather.

Kristen Nordlund, a spokesperson with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an email Saturday evening that all 100 of the cynomolgus macaque monkeys had since been accounted for. Three were dead after being euthanized.

The email did not elaborate on why the three were euthanized or how all came to be accounted for. But Nordlund said those euthanized were done so humanely according to American Veterinary Medical Association guidelines.

The shipment of monkeys was en route to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, an Indian Ocean island nation, police said. The Atlanta-based CDC said the agency was providing “technical assistance” to state police in Pennsylvania.

The collision occurred Friday on a state highway near an Interstate 80 exit in Pennsylvania’s Montour County, Trooper Andrea Pelachick told the Daily Item newspaper of Sunbury.

The location of the quarantine facility and the type of research for which the monkeys were apparently destined weren’t clear, but cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies. A 2015 paper posted on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information referred to them as the most widely used primate in preclinical toxicology studies.

Earlier, police had earlier urged people not to look for or capture any monkey, with troopers tweeting: “Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to catch, or come in contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately.”

Trooper Lauren Lesher said the concern was “due to it not being a domesticated animal and them being in an unknown territory. It is hard to say how they would react to a human approaching them.”

Lesher said state police secured the scene for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the CDC.

The drivers of the trucks weren’t harmed and a passenger was transported to a medical center for treatment of suspected minor injuries, according to the state police’s crash report.

A crash witness, Michelle Fallon, told the Press Enterprise of Bloomsburg she spoke with the pickup driver and a passenger after the crash. The driver appeared to be disoriented, and the passenger thought he might have injured his legs, she said.

Crates littered the road Friday as troopers searched for monkeys, rifles in hand. Valley Township firefighters used thermal imaging to try to locate the animals, and a helicopter also assisted.

The pickup was heading west on I-80 when it got off at the Danville exit and then immediately tried to get back on, driving across the other lane.

Fallon said she was behind the pickup when it was hit on the passenger side by the dump truck, tearing off the front panel of the trailer and sending more than a dozen crates tumbling out.

She and another motorist who stopped to help were standing near the scene when the other driver said he thought he saw a cat run across the road, Fallon said.

Fallon peeked into a crate and saw a small monkey looking back at her, she told the newspaper.

“They’re monkeys,” she told the other motorist.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.