ST. JOE — On Saturday, June 5th, 2021, Buffalo National River park rangers responded to multiple medical events.
Charles R. Harman, 61, from Overland Park, Kansas, died of a possible cardiac event. At approximately 3 p.m. on Saturday, park rangers were notified of an unresponsive man in the Margaret White area of the river, located between the Woolum and Baker Ford river access points in the park’s Middle District. While floating with their family, Mr. Harman and his son turned over in their canoe, after which Mr. Harman was found unresponsive in the water. Family members and witnesses quickly moved Harman from the waterway and began CPR. Two National Park Service rangers arrived by boat approximately 40 minutes later, used an AED and administered three additional CPR cycles. Harman was loaded into a boat and floated to an ambulance crew waiting at a river access point. They determined that lifesaving efforts were not successful. Later, the county coroner stated that the probable cause of death was a cardiac event. Condolences go out to Mr. Harman’s family and friends.
Earlier in the day, at approximately 12:45 p.m., Buffalo National River park rangers were informed of a 51-year-old male with a broken hip on the Hemmed-in-Hollow trail. Park Rangers and search and rescue volunteers hiked to the visitor’s location, evaluated the injury, and carried the visitor to the river. There he was loaded onto a canoe and floated downstream to an ambulance waiting at the Kyles Landing river access. At approximately 6:30 p.m, he was transported by ambulance to a landing zone where he was taken by helicopter to a medical center.
While these events were occurring, a 44-year-old male from Sherwood, AR experienced a medical emergency while floating on the river with his group. The group was able to exit the river at the Shine Eye river access, where park rangers provided medical support and coordinated a gravel bar helicopter extraction to Baxter Regional Medical Center in Mountain Home at approximately 1:45 p.m.
The National Park Service expresses thanks to the visitors, responders and many cooperating agencies who helped render aid this past busy weekend.
Park rangers urge visitors to self-assess and take proper safety precautions, such as wearing a life jacket, while recreating at Buffalo National River. There are inherent risks involved in recreating at a wild river, even when conditions seem optimal. To report an emergency, please dial 911 or call Buffalo National River’s 24-hour dispatch center at 1-888-692-1162.