DANVILLE, Pa. (AP) — Residents of a Pennsylvania county were warned on Saturday not to approach a monkey that went missing after an accident involving a pickup truck that was towing a trailer carrying about 100 of the animals to a lab .

State troopers have urged people not to search for or capture the cynomolgus macaque monkey after Friday afternoon’s crash on a state highway near an Interstate 80 exit in Montour County.

“Anyone who sees or locates the monkey is asked not to approach, attempt to grab or come into contact with the monkey. Please call 911 immediately,” the soldiers tweeted, without giving details of the specific dangers the monkey faces. monkey represented.

Several monkeys escaped after the van collided with a dump truck, but as of Saturday morning only one remained missing, officials said. The Pennsylvania Game Commission and other agencies searched for him in freezing weather.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the agency was providing “technical assistance” to state police. The cargo of monkeys was on its way to a CDC-approved quarantine facility after arriving Friday morning at New York’s Kennedy Airport from Mauritius, the agency said. .

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The truck was on its way to a lab, Private Andrea Pelachick told Sunbury’s The Daily Item newspaper.

The location of the lab and the type of research the monkeys were intended for were unclear, but cynomolgus monkeys are often used in medical studies. A 2015 article published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information website called them the most widely used primate in preclinical toxicology studies.

Trooper Laura Lesher said state police secured the scene for the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The condition and whereabouts of the remaining monkeys were unclear on Saturday.

The condition of motorists was also unclear, or whether citations had been issued.

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

Crates littered the road on Friday as soldiers searched for monkeys, guns drawn. Valley Township firefighters used thermal imaging to try to locate the animals, and a helicopter also helped, Bloomsburg’s Press Enterprise newspaper reported.

The pickup was heading west on I-80 when it got off at the Danville exit, then immediately attempted to return across the other lane, the newspaper reported.

Fallon told Press Enterprise that she was behind the van when she was hit on the passenger side by the dump truck, ripping the front panel off the trailer and knocking over a dozen crates.

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

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

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

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