Baton Rouge Man Found Alive After Being Missing Several Days on Arkansas Trail
Some good news to report as a Baton Rouge man was found safe yesterday after being missing for several days on a trail near the Buffalo National River in Arkansas.
67-year-old Clinton "Preston" Smith was found by searchers about 2.5 miles from the trail at 12:18 pm on Tuesday, November 1.
Family members told Baton Rouge TV station WBRZ that Smith was found about three hours down the trail. He was reportedly dehydrated but able to walk when rescuers found him.
It all started when Smith set out on a six-mile hike along the Hemmed-in-Hollow trail alone sometime on Thursday, October 27. No one heard from him or saw him again until search and rescue crews found him on Tuesday.
“Friday evening was the initial call into my office. We got the park service involved from that point,” said Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler. “We started searching that evening and did some hasty searching that led into the next several days. Guess we’re on day five now.”
Search crews utilized ground approach, K9 units, and aerial surveillance to try and locate Smith.
“At 12:18 this afternoon, a team radioed in and said they’d had found him alive and was responsive,” said Wheeler. “Initially, it appeared that he did not have any serious injuries. He was responsive but also very sore, hungry, and dehydrated.”
Emergency crews were able to deliver first aid, food, and water to Smith. He was later evacuated from the woods with the help of a nearby group who gave up a horse for Smith to be led out.
Located in the Ozarks, the Buffalo National River attracts thousands of hikers every year. However, it can be rugged and steep, with dangerous terrain.
Park rangers say search and rescue efforts in that part of the park actually occur quite often. They say it's not uncommon to have one or two calls a weekend during this time of year for folks who get lost or are hurt and need assistance getting out.