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Springfield man dies from fall at Buffalo National River

A Missouri man died from a fall in the Indian Creek drainage of Buffalo National River on Saturday.

JASPER, Arkansas — According to officials, a Springfield, Missouri man died from a fall in the Indian Creek drainage of Buffalo National River on Saturday, May 7.  

A little before 5 p.m., the Buffalo National River’s dispatch center was notified of a hiker who had fallen near the Eye of the Needle in the Ponca Wilderness. 

Brad Lee Thomas, 46, was hiking with a group in an undeveloped wilderness area when he fell approximately 20 feet. 

Dispatchers were informed that Thomas was unresponsive and that CPR was in progress before their arrival. 

Witnesses conducted CPR and rendered aid until rangers and first responders arrived to the scene, but their lifesaving efforts were unsuccessful.  

Rangers have responded to multiple hiking accidents in the Indian Creek drainage over the past month, officials said. 

Officials with the river said the undeveloped backcountry area includes extremely technical, loose and slippery footing, and steep terrain, leaving the most experienced hiker susceptible to injury. 

They want to remind everyone hikers should be equipped for self-rescue, as emergency response can take several hours at this location. 

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