COMPTON, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A 60-year-old Bella Vista man was rescued after suffering an injury while hiking with his son in the Ponca Wilderness area of the Buffalo National River on Saturday, according to a news release from the National Parks Service.
Hiking in a remote area of the Ponca Wilderness late Saturday, February 27, the man was reportedly unable to hike out on his own after suffering an unspecified injury, and responding park rangers were met with heavy fog and a severe thunderstorm in the area, causing rescue efforts to be delayed until the following morning.
Overnight gear was taken into the hikers so they could shelter-in-place for the night, according to the National Parks Service, and, on Sunday morning, a multi-agency rescue team met at the Compton Trailhead to coordinate the rescue.
To avoid a six-mile carryout, the team rappelled down a 20-foot bluff and placed the hiker into an emergency rescue basket, hauling him up the vertical cliffside. Remaining in the basket, the 60-year-old was moved up 100 feet of steep terrain to the trail at the top of the bluff. Once at the trail, the man was transported by wheeled litter basket approximately a mile to a waiting rescue vehicle.
The Bella Vista man, who was not identified in the release, was transported to the hospital by family members.
According to the National Parks Service, the rescue would not have been possible without “the collaboration of local agencies and volunteers, including the Mennonite Disaster Service, Harrison Fire Department, Buffalo National River Search and Rescue, Newton County Sheriff’s Office, and the private landowner that allowed rescuers to access the scene from his property.”