On Monday, September 5, 2011 at approximately 12:44 PM, the Sheriff’s Office received notification that a man and four children were stuck up on the side of the steep bluff just North of the Dr. Z. T. Sheid Bridge across the White River near Norfork.
Emergency personnel from the Norfork Volunteer Fire Department were tasked with rescuing the people from their position on the side of the bluff. By approximately 3:11 PM, all five of the people had been rescued.
Deputies learned that the adult, identified as 20 year old Rick James Hazel of St. Mary’s, Georgia, had lead the children along the railroad tracks to the bluff and then decided to take a trail up the side of the bluff. There was a 10 year old, two 6 year olds, and a 5 year old child with Mr. Hazel. He and the children became trapped on the steep bluff and unable to safely climb down. There were no injuries sustained by this group, but deputies determined that Mr. Hazel had not provided any safety equipment for the children for the bluff climbing attempt and had not taken necessary precautions for their safety. Therefore, Rick James Hazel was arrested for Endangering the Welfare of a Minor in the Second Degree. He is scheduled to appear in District Court on September 8th on that charge.
One of the fire rescue personnel sustained an injury to his knee when he was bringing down one of the children.
John F. Montgomery,
Baxter County Sheriff