Newton County
Sheriff's Office
Jasper, Arkansas
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04/28/2017

SEARCH CONTINUES FRIDAY FOR MISSING CANOER ON BUFFALO RIVER

Inv. Glenn Wheeler with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office said the search continued Friday morning near Kyle’s Landing for a canoeist that went missing late Wednesday morning.

                Ricky “Rick” Norber, aged 65 from the St. Louis area was with a group of three other canoeists that had camped overnight along the river on Tuesday night.  Rising waters from heavy rains trapped the group who attempted to float out to safety Wednesday morning.

                River levels have continued to drop overnight, but impending rain threatens to cause river levels to rise to above what was present at the time Norber went missing.

                Searchers from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Harrison Fire Department, Tri-County Search and Rescue, Newton County Office of Emergency Services, National Park Service, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Arkansas Forestry Commission, Mennonite Disaster Services, Christian Aid Ministries, The Arkansas Canoe Club and local volunteers are involved in the search and the American Red Cross is on scene assisting with support of the searchers.

                Inv. Wheeler said “we have more people actually in the water today. The dropping water levels are allowing us to cover more area that had been underwater before. We have some highly trained and well equipped people who can handle being in swift water.” Wheeler went on to say “The dropping water in both good and bad. While it allows us to operate more safely and cover more area, but it begins to limit our ability to use motorized boats.”

                Ground searchers and dog teams are still being utilized and incident managers are in contact with the National Weather Service and other outlets to monitor upcoming weather. Searchers are also keeping a close eye on river level gauges upstream of operations in case rising water forces searchers to evacuate the river.