NEWTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Deputies of the Newton County Sheriff’s Office performed a water rescue Wednesday of four people stranded at the Lost Valley Trail near the Buffalo River due to the large amounts of rain that impacted Northwest Arkansas.
According to Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler, his office received a 911 call regarding four people stranded on the trail. The group had reportedly been hiking and was returning to the trailhead when Clark Creek, a creek they needed to cross, became flooded.
One member of the party was ahead of the others and managed to cross the creek before it flooded, leaving the rest stranded on the other side. Police said one of the hikers was carrying a five-month-old baby.
Though the group was not in immediate danger, the rain and cold temperatures prompted concern for hypothermia, particularly with the infant.
Newton County Deputies responded to the scene along with a National Park Service ranger, a local volunteer, and water rescue experts.
Once they arrived, deputies were able to deploy throw bags and set up a rope line. One of the deputies then crossed the flooded creek and assisted the others to safety. Police said all of the hikers were unharmed.
“I say it often, but Newton County Deputies have to be trained and ready to respond to just about any emergency in a moment’s notice. Most of my Deputies have medical training and most have various forms of rescue training and are outfitted with things like swift water rescue gear for just such occasions,” Sheriff Wheeler said.
Wheeler also wanted to remind citizens of the dangers of moving water, saying “less than a foot of fast-moving water can wash a car downstream, and much less than that can definitely wash someone away who is wading. If you come upon an area that has moving water, particularly where there normally isn’t, use extreme caution. Better yet, find another way around, if possible. Moving water is a very powerful force that must be respected. The ground is very saturated right now and many of the trees and underbrush don’t have their leaves yet, so a little rain can cause quick flooding, particularly in our creeks and drainages.”