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Body of man swept underwater on Buffalo National River located

On Thursday, crews located the body of the 39-year-old man who reportedly lost his footing and went underwater at Grinder’s Ferry.

ARKANSAS, USA — Update: On Thursday afternoon, the National Park Service announced that at around 11:00 a.m., they were able to locate the body of  Mr. Salamanca Saravia just downstream from the area where the search began.

After swift currents swept a man underwater on Tuesday afternoon, crews had a full day of searching the Buffalo National River on Wednesday.

The National Park Service said 39-year-old, Fidel Angel Salamanca Saravia reportedly lost his footing and went underwater at Grinders Ferry at around 4:15 p.m. 

Though he didn't come back up. Rangers and officials responded quickly and searched for him until dark. 

"As you can imagine, it can be very difficult to search such a large distance, in which we want to make sure we aren't missing anything," National Park Service Public Information Officer, Cassie Branstetter said.

That's why several agencies including the Searcy County Sheriff's Office and Mennonite Disaster Services have assisted the National Park Service in the search. 

Branstetter said this is the first person that has been lost on the Buffalo River this year— but a similar incident happened a few days ago. 

"There was a group of folks who waded out into the water unexpected, the current that came through and [they] were rescued, thankfully by passer-byers," she described.

She also explained it happened at Grinders Ferry, which is the same part of the river where the man was last seen. 

"Whenever these things occur, no one means for them to happen. But we always want to make sure that everyone is coming into these adventures, leaving with happy memories and not sad ones. And in order to do that, you want to prepare yourself the best possible way," Branstetter added.

She said the man was not wearing a life jacket but recommended everyone to wear one.

"Sometimes there are currents that you can't see. Wearing a life jacket, a PFD is going to be the best and easiest way to ensure that you are safe as you're exploring water areas," she explained.

She also encourages people to come and enjoy the river but shared a reminder to be careful on the water. 

"We want to make sure that you're having a fun, safe journey. So preparation is key," she said.

The Park Service said they'll continue the search over the next few days and they don't need any help from volunteers right now.

We'll continue to update you on this story as we learn more.

Credit: National Park Service

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