Siloam Springs Drowning Victim Identified, Search Continues

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SILOAM SPRINGS (KFSM) - The Benton County Sheriff's Office identified the drowning victim on Tuesday afternoon (June 30).

Authorities resumed their search Wednesday morning (July 1) looking for Randy Barton, 55, of Siloam Springs who was last seen swimming in the Illinois River under the Arkansas 59 bridge. The Tri-County Dive team and the Mennonite Disaster Service Search and Rescue joined the search Wednesday morning.

According to the Benton County Department of Emergency Management, the group Barton was with called 911 just before 2 p.m. and said the last time they saw him he was going downstream.

"It is a recovery effort at this point," Sergeant Mike Lira of the Benton County Sheriff's Office said. "The family has been notified."

The Benton County Sheriff's Office and authorities from Siloam Springs, Centerton, Highfill, Gallatin and Westville searched the area then moved downstream. Lira said Barton was not wearing a life jacket.

"No floatation device," he said. "There were possible medical conditions with this individual. It's a shame. Hopefully people learn from this."

Lira said alcohol and a history of asthma may have a played a role in the drowning. He also said those are just two other reasons why swimmers should wear life jackets.

"Please wear a floatation device no matter what," Lira said. "If you're an excellent swimmer there's always a chance you will get injured. There's always a chance you can have a medical condition."