When You Get a Raw Deal

On January 17, 2004, a 66-ton whale died and was beached on the southwestern coast of Taiwan, near the city of Tainan. Two weeks later, on January 29, authorities decided to truck the dead whale to a laboratory where they could do an autopsy. It took 50 laborers and three lifting cranes 13 hours to hoist the 56-foot behemoth onto a flatbed trailer truck. Pedestrians and shop owners poured into the streets to watch the spectacle of a whale carcass driven through the streets of downtown Tainan.

And then it happened. As the truck crawled through that downtown region, with crowds looking on, the whale exploded. That’s right, it blew up. The inner conditions of the dead mammal, combined with the bumps in the road caused an eruption that the townspeople will not soon forget. Cars, people, and local shops were splattered with whale entrails. Traffic was brought to a halt for hours. The smell was almost unbearable.

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Lloyd Stilley
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