Accident Database

Report ID# 8695


Accident Description

April 26 Rick Norber age 65 and 3 friends put-in at Ponca Landing on the Buffalo River. The water alpeady high was predicted to rise. The 4 paddlers set off in 4 canoes on a 4 day 22 mile fishing/camping trip.They refused the outfitters safty talk saying that "they had been doing these trips for years" Before they set off they were warned not to camp above the Kyles Landing access as those camp sites are prone to flooding.

They did camp a short distance above Kyles and woke up to a rapidly flooding camp. They quickly loaded their boats and took off and a short distance downstream encountered one of the larger rapids in the National Park.Grey Rock Shoals A.K.A. Hell's Half Acre is at normal flow a series sloped ledges that kick up small waves and scrape at the backs of boats, requiring skill to find the deapest chanels. The rapid ends in a slighly under cut rock with much of the current pushing toward it. At high water it is a torrent of large waves difficult to nagotiate with fully loaded canoes.

2 of the 4 canoes tipped in the rapid one victims swam to an island where he was rescued by National Park personal. Mr Norber was last seen floating past Kyles Landing. the search was begun that day but was discontinued at dark. Multible rescue squads from a large area along with the National Park Service and the Arkansas Canoe Club throughly searched the mile of river below Kyles for the next two day, without results. The canoes along with many personal effects were found durring the search. Efforts were called off Friday night April  28 because of additional rain in the forcast. The Buffalo River was closed because of the extreme flooding those rains caused. The body was finally recovered on May 6, 4 miles downstream of Kyles.

Join AW and support river stewardship nationwide!