Rivergoers worried as Spring River sinkhole remains unfixed

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 5:55 PM CDT
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HARDY, Ark. (KAIT) - Traffic on the Spring River near Hardy is expected to be very busy as the summer months approach.

Law enforcement is warning all river-goers to keep their eyes peeled for the infamous Spring River sinkhole that took the life of a Paragould woman in June 2020.

The sinkhole creates a whirlpool that can sweep someone underwater in a matter of seconds.

“Unfortunately, if the young lady would have had a life vest on, I am pretty confident she would have been with us today,” Hardy Police Chief Scott Rose explained.

Chief Rose said the sinkhole is at the falls where Spring River and South Fork River meet.

Signs will soon be placed in the area warning those floating to avoid it.

While the sinkhole is very serious, Chief Rose said it shouldn’t scare you from enjoying the river.

“We want people to come and enjoy the river,” said Chief Rose. “The river is fun, but you need to learn to respect it. Understand that it can be dangerous. As long as you respect it, we encourage you to have a vest and just be safe. That’s what we want.”

Walker Taylor’s home is across the river from the sinkhole, and he said he witnessed the Paragould woman’s death.

Taylor explained there was a fix to the problem and isn’t sure why state agencies haven’t addressed the issue.

“The very simple solution would be to fill it in with rock. Big rock. Wrap rock. Take it across the river with a track hoe, dump it in, and be done with it,” said Taylor.

Taylor fears a situation similar to the one in June of 2020, saying future drownings will be the fault of state agencies.

“Another drowning is going to occur,” said Taylor. “It’s going to be on your [state agencies] shoulders when it happens. It could be a child. It could be your child. It could be my grandchild. When it does, I think you’re going to be morally responsible, and I personally think you should be financially responsible as well.”

Officials are asking rivergoers to wear their lifejackets and to keep their eyes peeled.