BUFFALO RIVER NATIONAL PARK, Ark. – A hiker last seen five days ago was found alive by crews searching the Buffalo National River.
Family members said they had last seen 67-year-old Clinton Preston Smith of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, going out for a hike on Oct. 27. Smith was reported missing by his family the next evening when he failed to return home.
Crews with the National Park Service and the Newton County Sheriff’s Office started searching the area on Oct. 29, going through the Ponca Wilderness for four days, conducting grided ground and aerial searches. Tracking dogs were brought in to assist as well.
Around noon Tuesday, crews said Smith was found near the river in the area of Horseshoe Bend. Searchers said Smith was in good spirits when he was spotted. Adding that he was helped out to Kyles Landing.
Officials with the National Park Service thanked Newton County Sheriff’s Office, Mennonite Disaster Service, BUFFSAR volunteers, Arkansas Alliance of Bloodhound Search Specialists, Arkansas State Police, Compton Volunteer Fire Department, County Line Baptist Church, Marion County Search and Rescue and North Arkansas Regional Medical Center for their help with the search, and added a special thanks to Fred Wohl, who used his horse team to assist search crews.
Park officials added that terrain in the park can be steep and rugged, warning that off-trail travel is dangerous and asking park visitors to stay on established trails.
For more details on hiking near the Buffalo National River, head to NPS.gov.