ROGERS, Ark. (KNWA) — Several warning signs are now in place along War Eagle Creek following a tragic canoeing accident that ended in loss of life.
The signs were installed in honor of a young man who lost his life at the very same creek just a few months ago. His parents want to use his story to warn others of the conditions of the water and possibly save a life.
“On June 8th, we lost our son to an accident here where he drowned,” said his father Bob Tharp who is the Decatur Mayor. His son Ross was 33 and was with his family.
“He was a dare-devil. He loved the water and he loved his canoe. He had his family step out of the boat to square it up. He went across and ended up losing the canoe,” Tharp said.
He got stuck in a vortex and drowned. Rescue efforts were unsuccessful. Tharp said his son died doing what he loved most.
“Right after the funeral Joy (wife) and I took a trip to Michigan and we were walking to the beach and came to a sign. It was a picture of a young boy, he was 15-years-old and got caught up in the water. He wasn’t able to get out because there wasn’t anything there to warn him or to save him. That really got me thinking I had to do something,” Tharp said.
Tharp and Benton County Judge Barry Moehring took action to bring Tharp’s thoughts to reality.
“We’ve had enough accidents that we felt that we had to work with local landowners and the mill to see if we could do something to provide a warning out here,” Moehring said.
“We had a terrible loss but out of this we want to warn others, and I believe this is a good way to make this happen,” Tharp added.
A total of six markers were added along the creek with the words strong current and danger. Tharp says he hopes those signs keep families safe as they enjoy the area.