Photo by Jesse Evans, Editor

A group of children and adults are happy to be back on solid ground after being rescued off the river by Game and Fish Officers early this morning.

The group of nine people from Texarkana was out for an evening of fishing on the river when the boat got stuck on a sandbar where the Little River feeds into the Red River. After unsuccessful attempts to free themselves, they contacted a friend who brought his boat to attempt to pull them free. Unfortunately, in his attempt, the second boat became stuck as well.

As the sun set, and darkness set in, the temperatures on the water began to drop. Many of the kids were dressed in shorts and T-shirts, hardly the attire to spend the night on the chilly waters.

A call was made to Texarkana Police about the group’s situation. They contacted Miller County, who then contacted Hempstead County and the Arkansas Game and Fish.

Game and Fish took over the rescue and deployed two boats at Allen’s Ferry in Fulton at around 3:30 a.m. Officers from Hempstead, Miller and Little River Counties responded to get the group off the water.

The Game and Fish headed south from Allen’s Ferry toward Red River. The sound of the engines and glow of their spotlights faded into the pitch black night. Miller County Arkansas Game and Fish Officer Robert Tibbit said they were able to free one of the boats but the other had to be left behind. The children were loaded into Game and Fish boats and transported back to Allen’s Ferry.

The boats dropped the cold and weary children at around 5:50 a.m., almost twelve hours after they launched. The group was led to the Game and Fish Officer’s trucks where they climbed inside and warmed themselves.

The men of the group finished their business with the officers and went to each of them to shake their hand and thank them for helping them. They gathered the children and loaded everyone into their waiting trucks and finally began their ride home as the days first light began to crest on the horizon.

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