Truckload of salmon rolls over, 77,000 fish wind up in Oregon creek

Tractor-trailer accident the spilled Chinook salmon
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Cab of overturned tractor-trailerOregon Department of Fish and WildlifeSome 77,000 Chinook salmon wound up in a northeast creek instead of the river they were headed to when the tanker truck they were in rolled over.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports the tractor-trailer loaded with 102,000 young salmon crashed on March 29, with the majority of the fish winding up in Lookingglass Creek instead of their actual destination, the Imnaha River.

According to the department, the accident occurred on a sharp corner with the truck rolling onto the passenger side, skidding on its side on the pavement, and then going over a rocky embankment causing it to roll onto its roof.

The accident occurred alongside Lookingglass Creek, a tributary of the Grande Ronde River. The department said about 77,000 fish made it into the creek when the tanker overturned but 25,529 smolts died and their carcasses were recovered either in the tanker or on the streambank.

Small amounts of diesel fuel were quickly contained and did not result in a hazardous material spill response.

The driver suffered minor injuries.

The fish were traveling from the department's Lookingglass Hatchery, which raises spring Chinook as part of a hydropower mitigation program.