Accident Database

Report ID# 49020

  • Caught in Low Head Dam Hydraulic
  • PFD Not Worn or Present
  • Does not Apply
  • High Water

Accident Description

Troopers recover body of second missing paddler on Bull Creek 

Wes Johnson, Springfield News-Leader

Published 3:45 p.m. CT May 3, 2019 | Updated 4:17 p.m. CT May 3, 2019 

Authorities have recovered the body of the second kayak paddler who had been missing since Wednesday afternoon on Bull Creek in Taney County. Taney County Coroner Tony Mullen identified the man as Scott Puckett, 33, of Forsyth. 

Sgt. Jason Pace, with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, said the man's body was located at 1:34 p.m. Friday, about a quarter mile south of the low-water bridge where three kayakers capsized during extremely high flood waters. 

One man made it out of the creek and walked for more than two miles before finding a house, where authorities were alerted to the tragedy.  

Early Thursday, troopers found and recovered the body of Alex Ekern, 23, of Branson, near where the capsize occurred. 

The coroner said both victims were caught in a whirlpool or siphon that took them under water. He said both victims were located under debris in the creek, in the vicinity of Walnut Shade.

Following heavy thunderstorms, Bull Creek rose about 14 feet on Tuesday and was in high flood stage when the three paddlers launched their boats Wednesday afternoon.  According to troopers, none of the paddlers were wearing life jackets.

Emergency crews search for 2 missing kayakers near Forsyth, Mo.
Wed 5:01 PM, May 01, 2019 
NEAR FORSYTH, Mo. -- The Taney County Sheriff's Office is searching for two missing kayakers on Bull Creek. The two disappeared a few hours ago near Forsyth. A third kayaker reported them missing. Heavy rain Tuesday raised the creek levels, creating rushing water. Western Taney County Fire Chief Chris Berndt says none of the three kayakers wore lifejackets. He says his rescuers will search until dark.
TANEY COUNTY, Mo. - Law enforcement and first responders are searching for two missing kayakers in Taney County, Missouri Wednesday night.
The kayakers were last seen on Bull Creek. A third kayaker reported them missing.
The Western Taney County Fire Protection Chief said the kayakers were inexperienced and did not have life jackets.
The creek does have raised water levels after a rainy Tuesday night.
Crews with the fire protection district and Missouri State Highway Patrol are searching until dark on Wednesday. It is not clear if crews will return tomorrow.
The crews are searching near Highway 176 between Shady Rapids Road and Round Mountain Road.

NEAR WALNUT SHADE, Mo. -- The Western Taney County Fire and Rescue spent many hours searching for two missing kayakers on Bull Creek near Walnut Shade, Mo. Wednesday.
"All capsized, all got knocked out of their kayaks," Western Taney County Fire Chief Chris Berndt said. "One of them came up."
One kayaker was found safe. He was able to escape the waters, find a nearby house and ask for help."He thought it took him two hours to get to a house," Berndt said. "They called 911."
Berndt says none of the three kayakers wore lifejackets.
The rescuers searched until dark. Chester Kidwell lives on Bull Creek he joined the search."Looked from the low water bridge, all the way down past our property," Kidwell said. "We walked close to two and a half, three miles."Kidwell says this is a sad day for his community.
"I hate to see it but I wish people wouldn't be kayaking," Kidwell said. "I know it is fun but it is not fun when you drown."
If you plan to go out on the water, Berndt says you need to be a skilled swimmer and bring proper equipment, like life jackets.
The search will resume Thursday morning.
Emergency crews locate body of 1 of 2 kayakers missing near Walnut Shade, Mo.
Rescue teams search for missing kayaker
 Taney County Coroner Tony Mullen tells KY3/KSPR 
News that search teams found the body of Alex Ekern, 23, about a mile upstream from where a surviving kayaker called for help. Two of three kayakers disappeared in the water after the kayaks capsized Wednesday afternoon. One of three who survived and called for help.
Alex's friends say he was known by his nickname "Phoenix." They say he was a loyal friend who passed away doing something he loved to do. "He was a really good guy. [He was] one call away. If you call him, he'd always answer. That's one thing I could say about him, he was always there for us when we needed him," Monica Seale said.
The Missouri Highway Patrol is assisting in the search for the last kayaker missing.
Western Taney County Fire Chief Chris Berndt says none of the three kayakers wore life-jackets. If you plan to go out on the water, Berndt says you need to be a skilled swimmer and bring proper equipment, like life-jackets.
Read the original version of this article at
Kayaker’s body found; 4th death from flooding
Posted 4:20 pm, May 3, 2019, by Associated Press, Updated at 04:19PM, May 3, 2019
AVA, Mo. – The body of a kayaker missing since Wednesday has been found in a swollen southwest Missouri creek, the fourth person to die in the latest round of spring flooding.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. John Lueckenhoff says troopers found the body of 35-year-old Scott M. Puckett of Forsyth, Missouri, Friday afternoon in Bull Creek. The body of his friend, 23-year-old Alex Ekern, was found Thursday.
Puckett and Ekern were among three men who began paddling Wednesday afternoon in the creek near the small town of Walnut Shade. The patrol says they were swept over a low-water bridge and caught in what is called a hydraulic, which creates a washing-machine effect that is hard to escape.
One of the men was able to escape and climbed a steep bank seeking help.

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