CROSS COUNTY — Rescue boats took off on the St. Francis River in the dreary weather Sunday while dozens on the bank stood by with their eyes peeled for 25-year-old Nick Swink.
“We’ve got several boats in the water now doing some searches and doing some drags,” Emergency Management’s Shane Dallas told WREG.
Swink, an auxiliary deputy with the Cross County Sheriff’s Department, disappeared Friday night when he fell over the bridge. Swink had been a Wynne police officer for a few years, before joining the Cross County Sheriff’s Office last week.
He was scheduled to become a full-time deputy later this month.
Friends told News Channel 3 that Swink was with some friends at his favorite hang-out spot, on a bridge overlooking the St. Francis River, when one of them heard a splash. They shined a flashlight over the edge, saw Swink in the water and yelled out to him.
The friends said they heard him respond for only a moment before he disappeared.
“We’re still keeping hope, but we are trying to do everything we can to locate Mr. Swink,” Dallas said.
Overnight the temps plummeted nearly 40 degrees and rain stopped for about an hour.
“The river has come up four and half feet since yesterday, and the current is stronger,” Dallas said.
The cold, wet weather is not only making it even more difficult to find Swink, but also keeping rescue workers watching each other, hoping they don`t get sick and stay safe.
“It’s been raining on us all morning on and off,” Dallas said. “People are having to change clothes and get into dry clothes.”
They`ve come from nearby counties and as far away as Jonesboro.
“People come out and try to help because you put yourself in this situation and you hope somebody would come and help you if you needed it also,” Dallas said.
Searchers scaled the banks of the river but failed to find any trace of Swink. Swink was said to be wearing a dark green shirt, jeans, and flat-soled boots.
Swink, a graduate of Wynne High School, has been married for a little more than a year.
“It always makes it more difficult when it’s one of your own,” said Cross County Sheriff J.R. Smith, who said he has known Swink since he was a young boy.
Despite worries over bad weather as time goes on, Smith said he’s still hoping for a good outcome.
Stay with News Channel 3 and http://www.wreg.com for the latest updates.