100K salmon spill into Oregon creek after truck rollover; most survive

Wrecked truck

LA GRANDE, Ore. — A truck hauling more than 100,000 salmon overturned and dumped its load but luckily most of the fish swam off to safety.

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The crash happened on March 29 in northeast Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the truck was carrying 102,000 Chinook smolts. Smolt are young salmon and the ones being transported were at the point when they are moved from freshwater to the ocean. They were being taken to the Imnaha River in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.

The truck took a sharp corner and rolled onto the side before it slid on the road, eventually falling down the embankment, and coming to rest on its roof.

Of the 102,000 salmon, 77,000 of them went into the creek, but another 25,529 of them died.

They were either still in the truck’s tank or on the streambank, fish and wildlife officials said.

The fish that died accounted for about 20% of the total salmon release this year.

The truck driver had minor injuries, officials said.

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