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Contact: Caven Clark, 870-365-2790
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.
At the present time (2:30 pm) two boats have launched from Steel Creek to conduct a systematic search. In addition to the Buffalo National River Search and Rescue Team, other assets now involved include a team of AmeriCorps workers, Harrison Swift Water Rescue, and the Newton County Sherriff’s Department. An incident command system is in place and visitors are requested to avoid the Kyles Landing area while the search is active. The search will be continued until dark, and will resume tomorrow morning if necessary.