Arkansas flood death toll at 18 | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Arkansas flood death toll at 18

Posted By on Sat, Jun 12, 2010 at 4:47 PM

An afternoon update from Gov. Mike Beebe puts the death toll from Friday's flash flood in Montgomer County at 18. His media report says three people are missing. Status is also uncertain about another 20 people who may have been in the area.

Fox 16 reports on identities of 15 of the victims — one Arkansan, the rest from Louisiana and Texas.

Searching resumed this morning for victims of the flash flood that swept through the Albert Pike campground on the Little Missouri River early yesterday.

Dozens were unaccounted for as the day began, though reports remained hazy on how many of these were known lost in the floor or just out of touch.

The governor held a news conference this afternoon at 3 to update on search efforts and that's when he put the missing number at 3, plus the 18 dead. Agriculture Secretary Vilsack toured the flood-torn area with Sen. Blanche Lincoln. Vilsack told reporters that the Forest Service website and material at the campground caution about the possibility of rapidly rising water, but he said warning procedures would be reviewed.

Some early warning to campers came from a troop of Boy Scouts from Louisiana who began notifying other campers of the rising waters about 3 a.m. Friday, according to this Stephens Media account. These people moved to higher ground above the water.

The night of suddenly rising water was a horror. Quote from Channel 7 coverage:

Another survivor who spoke anonymously with Channel 7 News said she wanted to help people, but the waters were simply too strong.
"We stayed in the tree 6 1/2 hours and my 16-year-old came floating underneath us and we couldn't get him and he lodged to a tree. There were so many people passing us by hollaring, 'help me, help me.' We just couldn't reach them."

FROM THE STATE POLICE SATURDAY MORNING: On identification of the dead and whether the toll might rise. Spokesman Bill Sadler:

As of 9 PM Friday (yesterday evening) ASP command on the ground met with four different families who have reason to believe they have persons unaccounted for who were in the campgrounds or immediate area. We presume there are more. Again the challenge has been the unknown of who or how many people were in the area

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