Green Forest man dies following canoe mishap

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 ~ Updated 9:33 AM

BERRYVILLE -- A 68-year-old Green Forest man, L.J. Farmer, died of an apparent heart attack on the Kings River north of Berryville Monday after retrieving items lost from his canoe when a storm blew in.

According to Carroll County Sheriff's Investigator Mark Bailey, deputies were dispatched to the scene at 1:20 p.m. after a call came in reporting a possible drowning at the Romp Hole on the Kings, located along Country Road 4502.

Bailey said a woman who had been fishing with Farmer spoke to investigators when they arrived, saying she and Farmer had motored downstream in the canoe and were headed back when they encountered heavy rain and wind and the motor stalled.

Bailey said she told investigators she was knocked out by a limb when the canoe spun sideways but she eventually made it to shore.

According to her account, she saw Farmer walking in the water working his way downstream to retrieve items lost from the canoe -- and then she saw him on the bank across from her working his way upstream with a cooler and gas can that he had retrieved.

She also told authorities, Bailey said, that Farmer advised her he would be coming across the water to help her make it back to the parking area. He had started across when she saw him gasp for breath and grab his chest before he went down.

Bailey said investigators found Farmer about 500 yards downstream from the parking area. His body was taken to the coroner's office where it was determined that he died of a heart attack.

Bailey said the couple had been fishing from a flat bottomed canoe that was outfitted with a small motor that family members later retrieved. He said because the death had occurred on the Kings River, Arkansas Game and Fish personnel were notified as a matter of protocol.

Visitation for Farmer will be from noon until 1 p.m. Friday, March 23, at the Airway Chapel with funeral services to start at 1 p.m. at the chapel with pastor Junior Dotson officiating. Cremation will follow. Memorial donations may be sent to Airway Chapel and online condolences sent to nelsonfuneral.com.

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