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Rescue teams searching for missing canoer on Buffalo National River

Rescue teams are searching for a missing canoer on the Buffalo National River.
Rescue teams are searching for a missing canoer on the Buffalo National River.(KY3)
Published: May. 18, 2022 at 10:16 AM CDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 4:28 PM CDT
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NEAR NORFORK, Ark. (KY3) - Rescue teams are searching for a missing canoer on the Buffalo National River.

According to the Buffalo National River (BNR) Headquarters, the search began Monday evening. The water tossed the canoeist into the river near the Clabber Creek Shoal, southwest of Norfork. Another canoer was wearing a life jacket and could get the boat back upright.

Rangers have not yet released the names of those involved.\. Several agencies have assisted in the search, including Buffalo Rangers, state and local law enforcement, and multiple fire departments.

“Initially, you’ve got an immediate 20 miles stretch on the Buffalo they’re working with,” explained Lone Rock Fire Chief Dale Bonnett. “Unfortunately, crews are having trouble searching those shorelines. Right now, there are multiple crews working on this, but there’s a lot of debris in the water, and it’s very cloudy.”

Fire Chief Bonnett was the first to come in contact with the canoer wearing a life jacket, who had floated downstream.

“The important thing here, the canoe tipped, and he actually had a life vest on,” said Fire Chief Bonnett. “He was able to get the boat upright and get back in it because he had control. That can’t happen if he isn’t wearing that life vest.”

Floating conditions near Clabber Creek Shoal were high and swift Monday, although since coming down.

“Unfortunately, things could work down into the White River, which could end up being another 25-mile stretch that somebody could actually be floating down,” Bonnett explained.

Several agencies have assisted in the search, including Buffalo Rangers, state and local law enforcement, and multiple fire departments.

Wednesday’s search efforts were focused on the lower portion of the Buffalo, with Norfork-area fire departments anticipating expanded actions into the White River beginning Wednesday.

Rangers say they will provide any updates from the search efforts in the coming days.

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