Recovery effort resumes Saturday for man who fell into St. Francis River

WYNNE (Times-Herald) - Efforts to recover the body of Nick Swink, 24, a Wynne Police officer and Cross County Sheriff's Department auxiliary deputy, will resume Saturday when about 150 search and rescue personnel plan to cover a 12-mile stretch from the SFC 1004 bridge, where he fell in January, to the railroad crossing in Madison.

Shane Dallas, coordinator of the St. Francis County Office of Emergency Management, said today, "We're bringing in several search and rescue teams from Northwest Arkansas, across the state and from Shelby County, Tenn. We've got about 150 people who will assist in the search for Deputy Nick Swink's body. They will be coming in Friday night and staying until Sunday afternoon. All day on Saturday we will be concentrating on the 12-mile area."

Dallas, deputy OEM coordinator Bill Simmering, and OEM intern Charles Gaines were working on maps this morning to organize the search effort.

"We will have between six and 10 cadaver dogs and their handlers with us, at least two dive teams and about 85 people who are called 'ground pounders' who will be walking along the banks. The water was low when he fell in, and has risen and fallen a few times since. We want to make sure his body is not on the bank somewhere."

Dallas added that there have been some logistics to sort out with that many people coming to their aid, but that local agencies and businesses have volunteered their support.

"Both St. Francis and Cross counties are hosting them and housing them at the Tri-County Baptist Youth Camp in Wynne," said Dallas. "The Arkansas Baptist Disaster Relief chapter based at the First Baptist Church will be providing them food. Nimocks Oil has donated drinking water for the effort. We'd like to thank them and everyone else who has helped with this."

Dallas said the effort may inconvenience residents who live near County Road 1004, as well as other roads that cross the river.

"We will have the SFC 1004 bridge closed on Saturday, and the public may have limited access to some roads that go over the river," Dallas said. "Also, we are launching from the boat ramp in Madsion, so there may be issues there. We're asking the public to avoid the area of the search if at all possible."

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