An area teenager drowned in the Mulberry River at Bluff Hole Park while swimming with friends late Saturday afternoon.
Mulberry Police Department received a 911 call at 3:35 p.m. Saturday about the possible drowning of a 17-year-old Fort Smith boy who was swimming with three other friends, said Mulberry Police Chief Shannon Gregory.
Gregory said the teens were swimming across the river, from the west bank to the east bank, when the 17-year-old male went under the water and did not come back up.
The teens were swimming across a span of about 75 yards, and made it about three-quarters of the way across when the boy began to struggle, Gregory said. Some areas of Bluff Hole span 100 yards, he said.
The boy’s friends and others at the swimming hole tried to rescue the boy, but were unable to find him under the water, Gregory said.
Mulberry police and the Mulberry Fire Department District 2 responded to the call, and the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office’s volunteer dive team was called to work the scene, Gregory said.
The dive team located the victim in about 25 minutes, Gregory said. The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission aided in the search.
While the boy’s body has been sent to the state crime lab, Gregory said he does not believe foul play or alcohol was involved. He called the incident a "tragic accident."
"It’s a tragic thing. Down at Bluff Hole is a pretty safe place to swim, but it doesn’t look like it’s very far across," Gregory said. "We wish people would wear their life jackets if they’re going to try to make that swim."