Going camping is a rite of passage for most children. However, when and unforeseeable circumstances happen, it’s a memory any family would want to forget. Last June, a flash flood hit and swept 20 people to their deaths at the Albert Pike Recreation Area near Glenwood, Arkansas, taking campers by surprise. A federal tort claim has been filed in the wrongful deaths of these individuals against the U.S. Forest Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The claim states that the federal agencies failed to properly maintain the severe weather and flood warning system at the campground. This led to communication problems that prevented campers from seeking higher ground because they had no idea of the imminent danger of flash flooding.
Also included in the claim was the fact that the campground had a history of flooding that dated back to the 1940s. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service reportedly failed to post flood hazard warning signs to inform campers of the dangers of camping in a potential flood zone.
Adding to the notion that once one thing goes wrong, everything else does, the campground also had no ranger on site, no cell-phone service, no emergency warning sirens and the closest sheriff’s department was at least an hour away. These combined circumstances made for a tragic situation.
Casualties of the flood were seven children and 13 adults from Louisiana and surrounding states. They died after heavy rains flooded the valley in the Ouachita Mountains and sent the Little Missouri River out of its banks.
The families of these victims realize that seeking compensation will not undo the negligence that had taken place, but these families are entitled to financial support, which can also send a message to prevent similar tragedies from happening.
As a result of this these deadly circumstances, workers at the Albert Pike Recreation Area installed a new transmitter, so weather-alert radio signals can reach the campground and avoid any future tragedies.
Source: Claims Journal, “3 Texans File Tort Claim Over Deadly Arkansas Flood,” Jan. 6, 2012