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Photo/Tammy Curtis Rescue workers work to free the body of Carla Jo Davenport, 41, of Lonoke on July 25 near Rio Vista Falls on the Spring River near Hardy.
A 41-year-old Lonoke woman drowned on Monday, July 25, while rafting on the Spring River. Just five days earlier, locals saved an out-of-town girl from nearly drowning in the same location, on falls near Rio Vista.
Police reports indicate Roger McCord called Central Dispatch at 1:21 p.m. on July 25 to report a woman being injured going over the falls. Rescue workers arrived to find Carla Jo Davenport, 41, of Lonoke submerged in the water, lodged between rocks on the falls in a face-down position.
The victim had been under the water for 10 minutes at the time of their arrival. Rescue workers from the Cherokee Village Fire Department, Hardy Fire and Police Department, Nine Mile Ridge Fire Department, Highland Fire Department, officers from the Sharp County Sheriff's Department, Cherokee Village Police Department, Ravenden Police Department, as well as concerned citizens attempted unsuccessfully to free Davenport with ropes and other tools.
Finally, rescue boats from the Hardy Fire Department, as well as the jaws of life, were used to break rocks away from Davenports body in an attempt to free her.
Due to the swift water, a human dam was made above the victim by the rescue workers during the attempts to dislodge her. Rescue workers attempted to free the victim for over an hour in the fast waters.
Ed French, a witness at the scene, told authorities he had seen the family rafting on the river when the raft became hung on the falls. The woman slipped and fell, causing her body to go under the water as she was attempting to help dislodge the raft.
French said the man, later identified as her husband, Tommy Davenport, tried desperately to free his wife from the hole. French made his way over to assist Davenport. At this time, Davenport was still alive and soon after, became lifeless, as the group went for more help.
There has been some talk about attempting to destroy the large rocks where both accidents occurred to prevent this type of occurrence on the Rio Vista Falls in the future.