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Man dies of injuries suffered in boating accident on Norfork Lake


A Baxter County, Ark., man, 74-year-old Robert Jay Louck, died Tuesday afternoon from injuries sustained in a boating accident at the Cranfield Marina on Lake Norfork, announced officials with the Baxter County Sheriff’s Office and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission on Wednesday afternoon in a joint press release.

At about 3:14 p.m. Tuesday, the sheriff's office was notified by 911 of an injured man yelling for help at the Cranfield Marina. The marina is about 45 miles southwest of West Plains, and 7 miles northeast of Mtn. Home, Ark.

Emergency medical personnel had already been dispatched to aid the man at the time the sheriff’s office was notified, and deputies were sent to respond, as well, said officials. The man was located at Dock 4, and his pontoon boat had extensive damage to the front, side and the interior, officials reported, observing it appeared Louck had been involved in a boating accident.

Emergency medical personnel began critical first-aid measures in an attempt to save the man, but were unsuccessful, and Baxter County Coroner Brad Hayes pronounced Louck dead.

Shortly after 4 p.m., the sheriff's office was notified that a second person may have been involved in the boating accident and could also be missing. The information came after a review of video surveillance from the Cranfield Marina showed the boat leaving the marina earlier in the day with two occupants on board, but returning with just one, said officials. The sheriff's office deployed a helicopter and other assets to begin a search.

During a brief search to determine if a second person was in the water in the nearby area, it was learned by officials that the second person had been dropped off elsewhere and was safe and the search was called off.

A further review of surveillance footage indicated that the victim and his damaged boat returned to the area of Cranfield Marina around 2:30 p.m. It was seen to be slowly circling near the marina for about 30 minutes, then arrived at Dock 4 where it struck another boat parked in a stall.

The boating accident itself is being investigated by Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Officers.

Agencies involved in responding to the incident were the Baxter County Sheriff's Office, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, U. S. Army Corp of Engineers Park Rangers, Arkansas State Police, Northeast-Lakeside Fire Department, Baxter Health ambulance service and Air Evac Air Ambulance Service.