Boater rescued from Arkansas River thankful


Jeremy Freyer is thankful for the deputies and others who rescued him from his disabled boat on the Arkansas River on Wednesday.

“I am thankful for everyone who searched for me,” Freyer, an experienced boater, said of the ordeal, which began on Tuesday. “I was kind of nervous being stranded on the water overnight. It was a little frightening. I had nothing else honestly do do [except wait].”

The 28-year-old from Woodlawn did not bring food or supplies, although he was wearing a life jacket. He was fishing for bass, as he had done countless times.

But he ran into problems when his boat lost power because of a mechanical problem, leaving him stranded. He called his father to report his location but his phone lost power.

“I pulled the boat to the bank and threw an anchor down,” Freyer said.

Freyer vows to return to fishing, but said he will at least bring food in case he ever finds himself in a similar predicament.

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office deputies located Freyer in his boat on the river about a half mile from Lock and Dam Number 3 near U.S. 65 South, said Major Lafayette Woods Jr., JCSO spokesman.

Freyer’s father alerted authorities that his son was missing Tuesday night when he tried to reach him by cell phone but could not. His father assisted first responders with the search.

Strong thunderstorms had dropped heavy rains earlier this week, causing the Arkansas River to be turbulent.

“The Arkansas River waters were very high at the time,” Woods said.

The Army Corps of Engineers issued a small craft advisory Tuesday for the Arkansas River from Conway downstream.

Small craft advisories are issued when flows exceed 70,000 cubic feet per second. Flows at Pine Bluff were about 89,000 c.f.s. when the craft advisory was issued Tuesday.

The advisory was lifted Friday.

Daily river information can be obtained at www.swl-wc.usace.army.mil.