Man dies trying to save kayakers from sinkhole whirlpool

A 64-year-old man was killed while trying to save boaters from a sinkhole that created a whirlpool in Arkansas' Spring River.


NSFW    SEARCY, ARKANSAS — A man was killed Saturday in a fatal boating accident after a sinkhole created a dangerous whirlpool on the Spring River in Arkansas.

Arkansas Online reports that authorities identified the victim as Donald Wright, who worked as the executive director of a halfway house in Searcy.

According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, a sinkhole opened around noon below the falls near Dead Man's Curve, resulting in a deadly whirlpool.

While paddling in the area, Wright's residents were thrown off their kayak after it became caught in the whirlpool. Wright tried to help, but his own kayak capsized and got sucked into the whirlpool. The 64-year-old reportedly drowned within minutes.

A spokesman from the Commission says one of the paddlers was able to swim to shore, while the other was injured and had to be medflighted out.

Officials have installed buoys around the sinkhole, and warned visitors not to go into the area.

Engineers are also set to assess the region within the week, amid worries that another sinkhole could open up in the area.
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