JASPER, Ark. – A Springfield, Missouri man has died after a fall at the Buffalo National River over the weekend.
According to officials with the National Parks Service, the park’s dispatch center was advised of a hiker who had fallen in the Indian Creek drainage area near the Eye of the Needle in the Ponca Wilderness.
Authorities said 46-year-old Brad Thomas was hiking with a group in the undeveloped wilderness area when he fell approximately 20 feet.
Witnesses attempted CPR and other life-saving measures until first responders arrived, but Thomas eventually died from his injuries.
Rangers said that there have been multiple hiking accidents in the Indian Creek drainage area of the park over the last month. They said that this area of undeveloped backcountry includes extremely technical, loose and slippery footing and steep terrain.
Park authorities also said that even the most experienced hiker is susceptible to injury in this area and they urge hikers to be equipped for self-rescue due to emergency response to this location often taking several hours.
The National Park Service sends out condolences to Thomas’s family and friends. They also expressed thanks to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Mennonite Disaster Service, BUFFSAR volunteers, Arkansas National Guard, Harrison Fire Department, Newton County Office of Emergency Management, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center, and the Newton County Baptist Church for their assistance in this incident.
To find out more about the trails at Buffalo National River, visit the National Park Service’s website.