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Accident Description

Missing canoeist found dead in Caddo River

by Mandy Hrach, KATV News, Little Rock, AR

Monday, September 14th 2020

CADDO VALLEY, Ark. (KATV) — A 41-year-old man who went missing while canoeing down the Caddo River was found dead Monday morning. Clark County Sheriff Jason Watson said a search team found the body of James Stephenson in the river near the area of the Highway 67 bridge.

Stephenson went missing Sunday during a canoe trip with his son and two of his son's friends. At some point, Stephenson was separated from the group. A police report said a woman found Stephenson's blue tube with a life-jacket strapped to the side.

Arkansas Game and Fish, Clark County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue, Caddo Valley police, and Caddo Valley fire all searched the river Sunday, but were unable to locate Stephenson. Their search resumed Monday morning, with divers locating Stephenson's body just after 8:30 a.m.

From Cowper Chadborn via Facebook: A guy on SAR team down there has confirmed he was in tube. I don't know if the group had any canoes, we have seen a few tubes being towed by canoes, that sort of thing. So I can't tell you the whole group was in a tube.

SAR guy says at that flow, river comes up 7 vertical feet. Rushes into trees and strainers, easy for a boater to avoid, but not a non-boater, new boater, or tuber. And the release schedule tells how many hours per day they will flow - but not what time they start. We need to work on that part of it instead of blaming victims.