Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Boater dies after sinkhole creates whirlpool on Arkansas river

Boater dies after sinkhole creates whirlpool on Arkansas river

A sinkhole has opened in the Spring River in north Arkansas and was the site of a fatal boating accident Saturday, the state Game and Fish Commission said.

Arkansas Game and Fish Commission spokesman Trey Reid told The Washington Post Monday that the victim has been identified as Donald Wright, 64, from Searcy, Ark. The sinkhole is below the falls and near Dead Man's Curve. Wright's kayak capsized when he attempted to help a canoe that had also been caught in the whirlpool.

The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is asking anyone who plans to go into the Spring River in Fulton County to avoid the area near Sadler Falls.

Experts say sinkholes are common in north Arkansas because of the nature of the local bedrock-and when they happen underwater, they can create unsafe whirlpools.

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The U.S. Geological Survey states that sinkholes occur when groundwater dissolves bedrock - such as carbonate rock, limestone or salt beds - creating open spaces underground.

When this happens underwater, it can create circular currents, such as whirlpools. The area has been roped off and marked with buoys while the US Army Corps of Engineers looks for a solution.

The commission says engineers will examine the area this week.

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