Deputies Identify Teen Who Drowned at Siloam Springs Whitewater Recreation Park

By Laine Baker |

Published 06/17 2014 07:58PM

Updated 06/19 2014 03:42AM

SILOAM SPRINGS, AR -- The Benton County Sheriff's Office has identified the teenager who drowned at the Siloam Springs Whitewater Recreation Park Tuesday. According to deputies, the dive team pulled 16-year-old Evan Thomas from the Illinois River Tuesday evening.

The Sheriff's Office and the dive team responded to the area after someone called 911 just before 4:30 Tuesday afternoon, June 17. Crews spent the remainder of the evening looking for Thomas. His body was pulled from the river before 9:00 p.m. Tuesday.

According to his Facebook page, Thomas was an avid swimmer.

Holland Hayden, the communications director for the City of Siloam Springs, says Thomas was at the newly-opened park with friends. About 100 other people were also using the park, which is on the Illinois River. Hayden says there are no lifeguards on duty and visitors must bring their own life jackets.

"This is a river we're dealing with. It's strong, it's not the public pool," says Hayden. "It's dangerous and we have to remember that."

Siloam Springs Public Safety Director Greg Neely held a press conference on this incident Wednesday afternoon, click here for more details.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.