More than 100,000 live salmon were spilled after a tanker truck overturned in Oregon.

Officials said that about 77,000 of the live spring Chinook smolts – or young salmon – “hit the water running” as they fell into a nearby creek.

In a statement from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), officials said the 16m (53ft) vehicle rolled over on a sharp corner.

It skidded on its side on the pavement, and then went over a rocky embankment causing it to tip onto its roof.

Pic: Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

The ODFW added that its driver was left with minor injuries, but said that the lost fish represented 20% of the total amount state hatcheries planned to release into the river this year.

“We are thankful the ODFW employee driving the truck was not seriously injured,” Andrew Gibbs, ODFW fish hatchery coordinator for Eastern Oregon, said.

“This should not impact our ability to collect future brood stock or maintain full production goals in the future.”

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The government body added that the smolts were planned to be released to an already constructed pool at the Imnaha River.

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Mr Gibbs told The New York Times they were meant to acclimate for a few days before making a 650-mile journey through the Snake and Columbia Rivers to the Pacific Ocean.

“They hitch a ride on the spring runoff, tail first, so there is less resistance,” he added. “That way, they can conserve energy until they get to the ocean.”