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Search called off after missing bayou floater found safe at a residence

IMAGE: Vehicles of officials and volunteers at the “rocks” area of Polk Bayou off White Drive in Batesville yesterday during the search of a missing floater.

A young man who didn’t show up at the end of a float trip with a group of friends brought on a search of the waterway and the area around it on Sunday morning.

The float trip was on the Polk Bayou in Independence County from Allen Road to “the rocks” area of the bayou. Float friends said they noticed Dallas Gillihan, 20, missing around 10 p.m., and they went to look for him. They found his kayak about a quarter of a mile from the rocks area, but he was nowhere to be found. Then, without success in finding Gillihan, Arkansas Game & Fish Officer Shad Pierce was contacted by family members asking for authorities to assist in the search.

The Independence County Sheriff’s Department was then contacted shortly after midnight on Sunday morning. Fellow floaters told authorities the last contact with Gillihan was about a mile from the rocks, where they had scheduled their stop.

Game & Fish officers searched the bayou without success. A ground search was conducted by members of area fire departments, Arkansas Game & Fish, Arkansas State Police, Batesville Police Department, Vital Link EMS, Survival Flight, Terry Marshall, and O’Neal Outfitters, along with members of the Independence County Office of Emergency Management. Their search was called off after 3 and a half hours when Sheriff Shawn Stephens was notified by a family member that Gillihan had been located at a residence of a friend.

The sheriff said all persons who were searching were called back to the staging area near the rocks to be accounted for. Sheriff Stephens thanks all members of the search party.

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