Arkansas flood rescue under way, many dead

Search crews recovered 18 bodies and were hunting for others, rescue officials said.

Arkansas flood rescue under way, many dead

Search crews recovered 18 bodies and were hunting for others on Saturday along a 10-mile (3 meters) stretch of river after a flash flood swept through a popular Arkansas campground on Friday, rescue officials said.

Officials said three people known to have been at the camp along the Little Missouri River in western Arkansas remain missing, and an additional 20 that might have been there are still unaccounted for.

Governor Mike Beebe said he had turned down additional federal help offered by President Barack Obama by phone and that state and local rescue teams, as well as U.S. Forest Service employees, would continue to hunt for the missing.

"If we need additional assets I'm not a bit bashful to ask him for it, but at this juncture I didn't," Beebe told reporters at a media conference in Little Rock.

A wall of water, triggered by heavy rains that swelled the river to 20 feet (6 meters), caught victims asleep in their tents at the Albert Pike campground in the Ouachita Mountains west of Little Rock.

Among the 15 identified victims were several members of the same families, including six children, according to a list provided by Arkansas' State Emergency Operations Center.

Chad Stover, spokesman for the State Emergency Operations Center, said that the river rose to 20 feet in five hours on Friday morning.

Television images showed cabins reduced to rubble and mobile homes and vehicles overturned by the waters.

The governor said he expected the search and rescue efforts to last several more days, after which the focus would shift to clean-up and rebuilding. He did not offer a cost of the damage caused by the flood.


Reuters

Last Mod: 13 Haziran 2010, 17:51
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