The keelboat Aux Arc, a popular part of the Scott 1817 200th Anniversary event on Lake Seminole and at Chattahoochee, FL in 2017 has capsized in northern Arkansas. All of those on board are safe.
The Independence County Sheriff’s Department has issued a press release that indicates the boat was found on its side in the water at Padgett Island on the White River near Batesville, Arkansas. The vessel was scheduled to appear for an event at Jacksonport State Park tomorrow. Fifteen people were aboard the Aux Arc when the accident took place. All made it safely to the north bank of the river and have been rescued. Efforts are now underway to examine the boat to see if she can be raised and repaired.
The Aux Arc is a 38-foot reproduction of an authentic keelboat of the type used on rivers across the South during the early 19th century. She was launched in 2004 by the Early Arkansaw Reenactors Association and has recreated historic voyages of discovery and exploration throughout the South. She sailed on Lake Seminole during the Scott 1817 200th anniversary event and was also on display at River Landing Park during the battle reenactment. She was scheduled to return for this year’s event.
The boat was commemorating Henry Schoolcraft’s 19th century explorations on the White River in Arkansas and Missouri. He visited the area in 1818-1819 and provided one of the first detailed accounts of the region. She was scheduled to appear for an event at Jacksonport State Park tomorrow.
The Independence County Sheriff’s Department Dive Team, the Oil Trough Fire Department, and the Newark Fire Department all responded to the scene. A passenger offered special thanks to the Oil Trough unit members for helping with warm blankets, food and transportation.
Historian Dale Cox, who assisted in bringing the Aux Arc to Lake Seminole and Chattahoochee last year, said this morning that he was very thankful to hear that all aboard were safe: “I thank God that all fifteen people made it safely to shore and were rescued. Hopefully the boat can be raised and restored but what really matters is that everyone aboard is safe. Captain Ed Williams and his crew are a great group of people and do so much good, especially by bringing stories of our past to school students. I am so thankful that they are okay.”
This video shows the keelboat underway on Lake Seminole during last year’s event: