Mountain Home man drowns in kayaking incident on Crooked
By: Staff; KTLO TV, Mountain Home, AR
May 18, 2020
A Mountain Home man drowned Sunday afternoon while kayaking
with his son and the son’s friend on Crooked Creek in Yellville. The victim is
identified as 54-year-old William Lender Ealey. The other two men, 31-year-old
Jeremy Ealey of Mountain Home and 33-year-old Joseph Barr of Bull Shoals
avoided injury, despite their attempts to help the victim.
According to information from the Marion County Sheriff’s
Office, the three were kayaking on the high water of Crooked Creek when the
elder Ealey’s craft capsized, and he was pinned against a tree. Despite wearing
a life jacket, Ealey was submerged by the force of the water.
The other two men were able to free Ealey and attempted
unsuccessful CPR. The report indicates, at that point, after their kayaks had
been swept away, they loaded the victim into his kayak and tried to get to
shore, but the water was too fast, and they lost both the kayak and victim.
The 911 call came in at 4:45, and the victim’s body was
recovered at 6:41 Sunday evening. The two survivors were rescued from an island
in the creek.
The incident happened about one-quarter of a mile upstream
from the Highway 14 bridge in Yellville. Over 4 inches of rain were reported
in the area from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning.
Agencies involved in the search and rescue included the
Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas
State Police, the Marion County Swift Water Rescue Team, Yellville Fire
Department and the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.
Kayaker drowns on swollen Crooked Creek
Josh Dooley, Baxter Bulletin
Published May 18, 2020
A 54-year-old man, William Ealey, drowned and two others
were rescued after they attempted to kayak a rain-swollen Crooked Creek on
Sunday afternoon, according to Marion County Sheriff Clinton Evans. William
Ealey and his son 31-year-old Jeremy Ealey, both of Mountain Home, were
kayaking on Crooked Creek Sunday along with the younger Ealey's friend,
33-year-old Joseph Barr of Bull Shoals, when the accident happened.
William Ealey, who was wearing a life jacket, struck a tree
top in the creek, was pinned and then forced under the turbulent water. His son
and Barr then went to the older Ealey's aid, losing their kayaks in the
They were able to bring the victim and his kayak to shore
when they began performing CPR on the older Ealey. The attempt to revive the
man was not successful. They then loaded him into the kayak, hoping to reach an
During that attempt, the waters proved too rough and they
lost the kayak containing the older man. The two survivors came ashore on an
island and were rescued by a boat deployed by the Arkansas Game and Fish
Commission. In addition to the AG&FC and the MCSO, the Arkansas State
Police and the Baxter County Sheriff's Office responded to the incident.
The Twin Lakes Area received several inches of rain over
the weekend, causing area creeks to run fast. Some roads with low water bridges
were impassable as a result of the storms.
Given that many people have been staying at home due to the
COVID-19, Sheriff Evans is concerned about the appetite people have to get back
out on area waterways during conditions that are less than optimal. "We
certainly appreciate that everyone wants to go out and do the things we all
love doing here now that we're able to get out of the house more," the
sheriff said. "We do want to caution folks that using good judgment is
critical in avoiding tragedy. We extend our sympathies to the family and
friends of Mr. Ealey."