A worker feared he was being attacked by the “Loch Ness Monster” after being confronted by large slimy animal flailing about in a pit of industrial ooze.
Steve, who was operating an excavator at the time, was utterly spooked, according to his manager at the waste recycling facility, Daniel Halemba.
“The words that were expressed to me was probably not suitable for your publication,” Mr Halemba told Yahoo News Australia.
“It was all pretty freaky to be honest.”
Mr Halemba rushed to the scene where Steve had observed the “frightening creature” and found it wasn’t a monster, but a frightened kangaroo.
The eastern grey was lathered in a thick, black mix of oil, bitumen and sawdust, and struggling to stay afloat.
Workers at the Cleanaway plant in Campbellfield, 17km north of Melbourne, had helped trapped kangaroos in the past, but this was the first time one had fallen into one of their indoor waste plants.
The pit was seven metres deep and anyone who ventured into it would find themselves in serious danger.
A call was made for assistance, but with the roo struggling to stay afloat, Mr Halemba needed to act quickly.
“We essentially made up a noose, dropped it into the pit with a little bit of finesse, and a couple of broomstick handles,” Mr Halemba said.
“We tied the rope around the roo and hauled it out.
“We put him back on the land, put a towel around him, and got some water.
“It wasn’t very happy at that stage, it was hissing at me whenever I got close to it but we tried to calm it down as best we could.”
Rescuer reduced to tears after attending to kangaroo
The roo was in a bad way when The Wildlife Rescuers Inc volunteer Leone Sorrentino arrived at the facility just after 9.30am.
His condition was “absolutely shocking” and he was severely distressed, according to Ms Sorrentino.
“[The roo] was covered in waste from head to toe and he’d even ingested it,” she said.
“He was very distressed, very angry.”
Such was the animal’s condition that Ms Sorrentino said she had no choice but to euthanise it.
It was only once she left the facility and sat down that the true horror of the rescue hit her.
“I got back into the car afterwards and had a cry,” Ms Sorrentino said.
“It was just horrific, these last moments of his life, and he’s in some pit.
“He was completely covered and I couldn’t even work out where his eyes were. It was just disgusting.”
Staff at Cleanaway said the facility they were located was in an industrial area, but with the streets quieter due to the coronavirus lockdown in Melbourne, they suspected wildlife were wandering out of the forests.
Ms Sorrentino said she would like to see covers placed above waste pits to prevent a similar occurrence happening again.
Despite attending road trauma victims and other bloody situations, Wednesday’s horrible event remained vivid in her memory.
She hopes never again to see another animal subjected to such a horrific, painful death.
The author, Michael Dahlstrom, is a registered wildlife carer in NSW.
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