Boater dies after sinkhole creates whirlpool on Arkansas river

At least one boater has died after a sinkhole developed on the bed of a north Arkansas river, creating a whirlpool.

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.

Reid told The Post that when the sinkhole opened and formed the whirlpool on Saturday afternoon, boaters were ejected from their boats. Wright, who was in a kayak, paddled toward the whirlpool to try to help them.

The 57-mile-long river, which runs through Arkansas and Missouri, is known for water sports, such as canoeing, kayaking and rafting, and fishing, The Post reported.

AGFC issued a warning Monday for boaters on the Spring River to avoid an area known as Sadler Falls near Dead Man’s Curve, about 150 miles 150 northeast of Little Rock.

The area has been roped off and is marked with buoys.

“The river is still open, but the barricaded area should not be breached,” AGFC officials said, according to Fox 25 Boston.

The commission says engineers will examine the area this week.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.