The incident happened as the multiple-trailer truck was exiting the A42 motorway near Gelsenkirchen city centre at around noon. The pigs escaped from a hatch that had not been properly closed, police spokesman Klaus Laackman told The Local on Tuesday.
“The first pig was killed immediately when another truck ran over it,” Laackman said. “The second ran into oncoming traffic like a ‘ghost pig,' and the third hid in the bushes.”
The swine, which had fallen from an upper story of the transporter, created traffic chaos, as police had to close off the ramp for two hours to recover the pigs. While they were able to catch the “ghost pig” - a play on the German word for someone driving the wrong way down the autobahn - unharmed, but officers had to shoot the other animal to prevent it from becoming road schnitzel, they said.
“You can imagine, there were bits of the dead pig everywhere, meanwhile we had to catch the other pigs because cars on that road are travelling faster than 100 kilometres per hour and hitting a 100 kilogramme pig would cause enormous damage,” Laackman said.
In all there were seven police officers on the scene, three as “pig catchers” and four to direct traffic. A veterinarian and four sanitary workers were also on hand for the porcine clean up.
“I suppose it was funny depending on whether you're an animal lover or not,” Laackman mused. “A lot of passing drivers were laughing, but you have to remember it was a dangerous situation.”