A Mountain Home man drowned Sunday afternoon while kayaking with his son and the son’s friend on Crooked Creek in Yellville. The victim is identified as 54-year-old William Lender Ealey. The other two men, 31-year-old Jeremy Ealey of Mountain Home and 33-year-old Joseph Barr of Bull Shoals avoided injury, despite their attempts to help the victim.
According to information from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, the three were kayaking on the high water of Crooked Creek when the elder Ealey’s craft capsized, and he was pinned against a tree. Despite wearing a life jacket, Ealey was submerged by the force of the water.
The other two men were able to free Ealey and attempted unsuccessful CPR. The report indicates, at that point, after their kayaks had been swept away, they loaded the victim into his kayak and tried to get to shore, but the water was too fast, and they lost both the kayak and victim.
The 911 call came in at 4:45, and the victim’s body was recovered at 6:41 Sunday evening. The two survivors were rescued from an island in the creek.
The incident happened about one-quarter of a mile upstream from the Highway 14 bridge in Yellville.
Over 4 inches of rain were reported in the area from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning.
Agencies involved in the search and rescue included the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Arkansas Game & Fish Commission, Arkansas State Police, the Marion County Swift Water Rescue Team, Yellville Fire Department and the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office helicopter.