Man dies when kayak sucked into river whirlpool after sinkhole opens

By Jeff Tavss - Executive Producer

SEARCY, Ark. - A man was killed after the kayak he was guiding was sucked into a whirlpool when a sinkhole opened in a northern Arkansas river.

Donald Wright, 64, was on the Spring River Saturday when the sinkhole opened. Wright's kayak capsized when he attempted to help a canoe that had also been caught in the whirlpool.

Wright was sucked into the whirlpool and drowned a few minutes later, according to ArkansasOnline.com.

Despite the sinkhole, the river remains open while officials warn visitors who may canoe or kayak in the area.

"We're not sure if it could happen again," said Keith Stephens, a spokesperson with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. "It’d be great if we had a crystal ball that could tell us that. I would encourage people to make sure when they’re the floating river to not get into areas that may be difficult unless you’re an expert."

The canoeist Wright was trying to save was treated and released from the hospital.

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