Tanzania native drowns in Buffalo National River

An international student from North Arkansas College has drowned in the Buffalo National River. According to Newton County Sheriff Glenn Wheeler, the body of 22-year-old Allen Buberwa of Tanzania was recovered shortly after 11 Monday night, and he was pronounced dead a short time later.

Sheriff Wheeler says his office received a call just before 6 Monday evening of a swimmer in distress at a popular swimming hole in Pruitt. Officials arrived on the scene and were told by witnesses two men swam across the river to reach a rope swing on the other side. Two other friends, including the victim, were standing on the bank watching when the victim slipped and fell in the water and immediately became distressed. The other observer jumped in to assist but also found himself in trouble. The two swimmers were able to get back and rescue one of the observers, but Buberwa did not resurface.

Wheeler said personnel from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, the Newton County Office of Emergency Management, the National Park Service, the Buffalo National River Search and Rescue Team, Mennonite Disaster Services, Christian Action Ministries, Harrison Fire and Rescue, North Arkansas Regional Medical Center EMS, the Air Evac Life Team, the American Red Cross and the Jasper, Hasty, Krooked Kreek and Mount Sherman fire departments responded to assist in the search for Buberwa. Northark representatives were also on the scene.

Buberwa was attending Northark as part of an international student program. College officials have been in contact with Buberwa’s family in the United States and Tanzania.

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