June 11th, 2010
02:35 PM ET

Officials: At least 16 dead in Arkansas after flash flooding

[Updated at 2:21 p.m.] At least 16 people died at an Arkansas campground after heavy rain and flash flooding, and many more could be trapped in the area, state authorities said.

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[Updated at 2:21 p.m.] Emergency management officials in Arkansas said on Friday that at least 14 people have died in the flash flood there.

[Updated at 1:24 p.m.] Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe told CNN there's word from the Red Cross that there could have been as many as 300 people in the rugged area of western Arkansas, but he said there is no registration that would show the precise number of people in the region - which is in the Albert Pike campground area.

Beebe said the water of the Little Missouri River rose from about 3 feet Thursday night to more than 20 feet early Friday in the U.S. Forest Service campground.

"It was a very rapid flash flood that inundated that area," Beebe said. "It's an unmanned campground in terms of being a campground with all the amenities."

He said rescue crews on foot, in helicopters, and in vehicles were combing the area. He said law enforcement, National Guard and parks personnel were working on the search-and-rescue efforts.

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[Updated at 11:33 a.m.] Two helicopters are searching the area of an Arkansas campground where heavy rain and flash flooding has left at least 12 people dead, a spokesman with the Arkansas State Police told CNN.

"We believe there are still people trapped in the area," Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

Sadler said the department's main goal at this point is to "locate and assist in rescuing the living and pinpoint where other bodies" are.

He said helicopters were needed because the area around the Albert Pike campground in western Arkansas has several camping areas and is extremely rugged and remote. Sadler said officials are working with local volunteers who know the area well and a temporary morgue has been set up in the area.Sadler said the floodwaters are expected to recede throughout the day and officials expect the search will be an ongoing effort all day.

"It's going to be later today before we're confident we've got the living out of the area," he said.

CNN affiliate KARK is reporting the National Guard was asked to provide a a UH60 Black Hawk helicopter for the rescue, but it has not been able to take off yet because of weather conditions.

[Updated at 11:20 a.m.] At least 12 people died at an Arkansas campground after heavy rain and flash flooding, state police said Friday.

[Posted at 11:17 a.m.] At least six people died at an Arkansas campground after heavy rain and flash flooding, a Polk County sheriff's officer told CNN on Friday.

Sudden rain put as much as 3 inches of rain in one hour in the area and the floodwaters went through the campground, which only has one access road, Officer Cindy Martin with the Polk County Arkansas Sheriff’s Office said.

She said the rain was so bad it wiped out phone service in parts of Howard, Pike, and Montgomery counties.

Martin told CNN there are still a “bunch of people still missing” in the area.

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. nsmith

    It is not our place question God. We should only keep the families of this tragedy in our hearts and prayers. This is a beautiful place that I have visited it many times with my family; my children. Let's keep in mind there are others still out there and some of the remarks seem to forget that.

    June 11, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Jessica

    I was suppose to go camping thusday night.Its a really sad thing when people as you read this are searching for bodies and for survivors.I went to Albert Pike a few weekends ago and remember seeing babys run around and play in the water,and happy families enjoying the beautiful moutains God created for them.And its so sad that you people think its funny?I have a 2 year old nephew named Nathan and I could only IMAGINE how horrible and sad it would be if something were to happen to him.I probably wouldnt want to live.For the common good of the families of the ones lost please just keep your insensitive comments yo yourselfs.Weither you believe in Christ or not.Goodness people...Grow a pair

    June 11, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Linda A

    What did Poppy say that everyone is so upset? Did her comment get erased? People are so cruel and thoughtless. My heart goes out to these poor people and their families.

    June 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. bigdog

    I tell uone thing we should pray and be thankful it was not oneof us orour family!The ones god bashing, can't see the lightbecause devil has blinders on you! One day u will see! We still love you any way

    June 11, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Star Lee

    http://arkansasmatters.com/ Has video footage of the main camping area but only that area. There are several camping sites that are used along the river for miles that you are not required to give notice of your stay along with many cabins that people own and use as vacation spots and come and go as they please. This makes it difficult to really know how many are missing. No cell phone reception. The initial flash flood warning was in the early hours in the morning when many were asleep.

    June 11, 2010 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. josh carver

    me and my family were at albert pike 2 weeks ago nd i cant believe that this happend just thinking that this could have happened to us if we had waited 2 weeks to go.

    June 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Mudbug

    What is the distance from albert pike campground to murfreesboro???

    June 11, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lindsay

    What the hell is wrong with you people? These families are searching for their missing loved ones and mourning the loss of others and you're busy arguing over the Bible and passing judgment on them for camping in the rain. That's why it's called a FLASH FLOOD. It hit while they were asleep and the waters rose up to 8 feet per hour trapping them. May the death toll not grow any larger than it already is and the missing be found.

    June 11, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. SLED JUNKIE

    Why were there no flood sirens in a valley known to be prone to flash flooding not that complicated to have sensors miles upsteam that set off allarms in poppulated areas

    June 12, 2010 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. damiao

    http://www.englishtips-self-taught.blogspot.com help to spread this idea overseas...

    June 13, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. claptonfan

    I guess you also feel the 3000+ people who died on 9/11 got what they deserved for going to work? You're pathetic.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:40 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. callmejer

    That comment is in poor taste. Shame on you.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:41 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Mary-Sue

    THAT WAS NOT FUNNY!

    June 11, 2010 at 11:43 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Camper

    Poppy, what kind of soulless, insensitive idiot are you to blame people for going camping? Flash floods like thus are very infrequent, though not unheard of, in the Boston Mountains section of the Ozarks, where this took place. What you've said is the same as saying of a person struck by lightening while walking down the street: "serves him right for walking down the street." How utterly stupid you must be.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. RevWaller

    Albert Pike is not in the Ozarks... it is in the Ouachita Mountians.

    June 11, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse | Reply
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