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Keelboat capsizes in White River near Oil Trough; no injuries reported

The “Aux Arc” (pronounced Ozark) keelboat made a stop at Batesville’s Riverside Park Wednesday, March 21, as it made its journey down the White River. However, the next afternoon around 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 22, as the keelboat was floating down the White River from to Newport, the Aux Arc overturned putting its crew members aboard into the river.  

First responders from the Oil Trough and Newark Fire Departments along with the Independence County Sheriff’s Department’s Dive Team were called to the White River for the capsized boat accident.

Independence County Sheriff Shawn Stephens said the boat was on its side in the river near the end of Padgett Island when responders arrived.  He said all occupants had gotten to the north bank of the river, with no one being injured.

All agencies involved were able to get all 15 of the boat’s occupants across to the south side of the river. From there, Oil Trough Fire Department personnel took them to the road and to a vehicle that had arrived from Jacksonport to pick them up.

The keelboat had arrived in Batesville Wednesday and was parked on display at Riverside Park to give residents an opportunity to see a replica of the keelboats which played a significant role in the development of northeast Arkansas.

It is speculated that the keelboat hit an unseen gravel or sand bar causing the incident.

For more info on the Aux Arc’s journey, click here.

IMG_0610The Aux Arc keelboat at Batesville’s Riverside Park the day before the accident.


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Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. and Ozark Newsline on Arkansas 103.3 KWOZ93 KZLE, and other W.R.D. Entertainment radio stations. If you have a news tip or event to promote, email White River Now at

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