Boat Crash in Arkansas River Leaves Several Hurt

A small boat carrying several people crashed into a buoy where the Poteau River meets the Arkansas River near the Garrison Avenue bridge on Saturday evening.

A group of recreational boaters came in from Oklahoma for a weekend excursion down the Arkansas River. One of the boats clipped one of the buoys on the river, causing the boaters to lose control and slam into the rocky bank near the Garrison bridge, said Battalion Chief Tery Graves with the Fort Smith Fire Department.

Fort Smith firefighters, police and EMS received the call about 5:51 p.m. Responders carted three people off on spine boards for transport to a local hospital, with two others wounded, but walking. Bystanders helped get the stranded people off the boat, where an ambulance arrived at Riverfront Park, Graves said.

Graves said he was unsure how many people were on the boat, but that it was the only one involved in the accident. Crews worked Saturday night to tow the boat back to Fort Smith Park.


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