NPR logo Ark. Flood Update: At Least 18 Dead, Nearly 24 Missing

Ark. Flood Update: At Least 18 Dead, Nearly 24 Missing

The latest on the search for those who still may be stranded and those who perished from the flash flooding in southwest Arkansas about 95 miles west of Little Rock is that, as of Saturday evening, the number of confirmed dead was 18, with six of the dead being children.

Authorities say they are still trying to locate about two dozen people they have reason to believe may have been in the area of the Ouachita National Forest when the Little Missouri and Caddo rivers quickly overran their banks and rose more than 20 feet as a result of a slow-moving storm system early Friday morning.

The search effort Saturday was encountering the difficulties you might expect in a rugged, wooded area following severe storms.

According to the Associated Press:

About 200 searchers combed some 20 miles of wilderness along the
receding rivers on Saturday. Crews on kayaks and canoes scanned the thick brush and debris in the swollen Caddo and Little Missouri
rivers for bodies, but experts say many of those killed could be
trapped under fallen trees and rocks, and that the river water
likely won't be clear enough to see through for several days.

Tom Collins, a Spring Hill volunteer firefighter, said the
debris in the water was frustrating their attempts to recover
bodies, and that there were so many fallen trees that it looked
like a "beaver dam."

"It's just a tangled mess," Collins said.

Arkansas Online has the identities of the dead as released by authorities.