Missing Boater on Buffalo National River in Arkansas

At approximately 11 am today (4/26) notification was received by Buffalo National River dispatch two persons were in danger in the park’s Upper District, specifically near Kyles Landing in Newton County (between Ponca and Pruitt). One was reported safe on an upstream island, but without means of reaching either shore. The other was in the river downstream from Kyles Landing. Subsequent to this report National Park Service rangers responded to the area and conducted a “hasty” search by land on both sides of the river to quickly attempt to locate these individuals. Observers reported debris, including a cooler, and a PFD (personal flotation devise), floating downstream from what was likely the site of a canoe capsize. Neither party has been contacted thus far. [NPS Story]

UPDATE: later on 4/26

Shortly after 3 pm the individual upstream from Kyles Landing was located on a small island, as reported, and apart from being cold was in good condition. The search for the other individual continued until about 6 pm and will resume tomorrow morning.

The incident occurred when a group of four men in four canoes decided to tackle the flood waters this morning above Kyles. Two canoes managed to traverse the distance safely but two overturned. The missing individual was last reported in the water across from the launch site at Kyles and has not been seen since. [NPS Story]

UPDATE: April 28

The search for the person whose canoe capsized in the Buffalo River Wednesday is winding down for the third day without discovery. Based on the forecast of flood conditions, the operation will be suspended until river conditions become safe again.  [NPS Story]

UPDATE: April 29

Although the water levels had dropped somewhat overnight, search efforts today (Saturday) were restricted to crews in two boats looking at river banks and shallows again today. The onset of very heavy rains, thunder, and dense fog brought those two boats off the river by 2:30pm today [NPS Story]

Update: May 6:

The body of the missing canoeist was found today at about 11 am by a Hasty Volunteer Fire Department boat searcher.. This individual was last reported by an observer at Kyles Landing in Newton County, immediately prompting an intensive search effort. Since last Saturday the search was limited to one or two boats looking between Kyles and Erbie Campground. The body was ultimately recovered approximately five miles downstream from Kyles. [NPS Story]

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