SILOAM SPRINGS -- The body of Randy Barton, 55, was found in 15 feet of water in the Illinois River around 2:20 p.m. Wednesday.
His body was found by Tri-County Search and Rescue with assistance from Mennonites Disaster Services and the Benton County Sheriff's Office. Authorities haven't said where Barton lived.
Barton was swimming with his family on the river Tuesday when officials believe he suffered an asthma attack. He was found nearly an eighth of a mile away from where he and his family were swimming, a river access point near the Arkansas 59 Canoe Rental and RV Park.
At least six organizations searched for Barton after he went under water around 2 p.m. Tuesday. Fire departments and emergency medical technicians from Siloam Springs, Centerton, Highfill, Gallatin, and Westville, Okla., joined the Sheriff's Office in the recovery effort.
A search started immediately when first responders arrived but turned into a recovery effort around 5 p.m. Tuesday, said Sheriff's Office Sgt. Mike Lira. Recovery efforts were put on hold around 9 p.m. Tuesday and began again at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Lira said.
Barton wasn't wearing a lifejacket when he went under the water. A toxicology report will be done to see if there was alcohol or drug use by Barton, Lira said.
"It is never good if we lose one person drowning. It is bad and this is not the first one this year," said Mike Dixon with Benton County Emergency Management. Dixon said the incident was at least the fifth swift-water rescue or recovery for the season.
"With a flotation device we would know right where this guy would be and he would be just fine," Dixon said. "And that is with every one of these we do, unfortunately, without fail. If they would just wear a personal flotation device it would have saved their lives in 100 percent of the cases."
NW News on 07/02/2015