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Contact: Keith A. Jefferson, 870-365-2798
The victim took an initial fall of 10 feet before he was stopped momentarily by a ledge, but the wet conditions caused him to once again slip and fall another 15-20 feet. His hiking companion lost sight of him after the final fall but was assisted by two University of Arkansas students who were also hiking. Due to lack of cellular coverage, unidentified hikers traveled out from Lost Valley to call Buffalo National River dispatch. Once the page was received, Buffalo River Search and Rescue (BUFFSAR) team members were mobilized to the location with the three young men assisting in the recovery. BUFFSAR volunteer and EMT Chad Wilt was the first rescuer to arrive at Lost Valley and was led by the Uof A students to the victim who was in the slot canyon between the Upper and Lower Eden Falls. While badly injured, the victim was conscious although not remembering the events of the fall.
Those assisting with the search and rescue efforts were Air Evac, Mennonite Services, North Arkansas Medical Regional Medical Center EMS, Carroll County, Mount Sherman Volunteer Fire Department, and Ponca Volunteer Fire Department. The teams performed a high angle rescue to bring the victim back along the trail that leads to the top of Eden Falls. He was then evacuated partly by litter team and partly by all terrain vehicle and litter trailer - operated by park neighbor Paul Villines - to the trailhead. He was then transported by ambulance to Compton and then air evacuated to Mercy Hospital in Springfield, MO. Currently, the young man is in intensive care, but in stable condition. The incident was managed under a unified command system between the National Park Service and the Newton County Sheriffs Office.