Late this past week NPS Digest reported that two hikers in the Lost Valley area of the Buffalo National River in Arkansas, were seriously injured in consecutive falling accidents on Monday, October 24th.
Brian Anderson, 22, and Jennifer Anderson, 23, were hiking with another couple near Eden Falls when they decided to climb to another cave beyond the end of the designated trail. Brian entered a V-shaped canyon slot where he slipped on wet leaves, slid approximately 20 feet, and fell another 40 to 50 feet to a rock basin above Eden Falls Cave. Jennifer heard the sounds of the accident, and while investigating, she too fell down the same slope. One of their friends was able to reach them while the other left the scene to call for help.
Park dispatch was notified in the early evening, and Buffalo National River Search and Rescue was called out. A unified command was established that included the park and Newton County Search and Rescue. First responders arrived to assist the couple at 7 p.m. and NorthArk medics arrived at approximately 9 p.m. and began patient care on scene.
A total of 36 search and rescue personnel assembled two high-angle “lowers” to safely transport the victims downslope, where they were transferred to a litter. The first lower involved a drop of 30 feet; the second lower was 40 feet. The carryout team transported the victims via litter two miles to the Lost Valley trailhead, where they were transferred to an ambulance and transported to a waiting medevac helicopter on Highway 43. Owing to the severity of his injuries, a compound fracture of both bones of his right forearm and right ankle as well as head injuries, Brian was transported first. Jennifer suffered two fractured ankles.