Ferenc Fuezesi  /  AP
A fireman puts one of the rabbits into a cage on the M1 highway near Bicske, Hungary.
updated 4/16/2007 4:08:52 PM ET 2007-04-16T20:08:52

A truck carrying 5,000 rabbits to a slaughterhouse overturned on a major Hungarian highway Monday, sending authorities on a hopping big bunny hunt.

The M1 highway, the main connection between the capitals of Hungary and Austria, was closed for several hours in the morning while authorities tried to recapture them, Highway Patrol spokeswoman Viktoria Galik said. The road reopened in the afternoon.

The truck carrying the rabbits was struck by another truck whose driver had fallen asleep, Galik said.

"Most of them were hopping around the freeway, but some also stayed in their broken cages," she said.

Both drivers were unharmed in the accident, but Galik said some 500 rabbits were killed. By midday, 4,400 bunnies had been collected and taken away from the scene.

About 100 of them got a lucky break, hopping away from capture and the slaughterhouse into fields surrounding the highway.

"Those 100 are free to go. We will not collect them," Galik said.

The rabbits that were recaptured may be taken to the slaughterhouse soon, Galik said, but had no further details.

The accident happened 28 miles west of Budapest on the M1 heading toward the Austrian capital, Vienna.

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