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Sulphur Bluff brothers rescue boaters

Neil Bruton and Kenneth Long of Prairie Grove, Arkansas, were rescued by Sulphur Bluff brothers, Justin and Jaden Goldsmith on Thursday, October 15, 2015.
Kody Waters
Cooper Lake State Park

Last Thursday while fishing on Cooper Lake, Sulphur Bluff brothers – Justin and Jaden Goldsmith – discovered a capsized boat with two Arkansas men clinging to it.

According to Kody Waters, Park Superintendent of Cooper Lake State Park, the young men said they were out fishing around 6:30 p.m. when they located Neil Bruton, 59, and Kenneth Long, 59, both of Prairie Grove, Arkansas hanging on to their 14-foot V-bottom boat which had capsized around noon due to high winds.

“Their boat had begun to take on some water due to a hole they were unaware of and the wrong wave which turned over the boat. The two were able to retrieve their life preservers and grab onto the boat once in the water.  Several attempts to swim the boat and swim without the boat, to the shoreline failed for the two,” said Kody Waters, in an emailed report. “At one point, they attempted to grab the gas tank from the boat and use it to help float, but this failed when the tank lid opened and gasoline spilled on the surface of the water.  This made their struggles even worse because they had to swim for many hours in the gasoline.”

Waters said the men were determined to survive as they held close to their boat. Fortunately the Goldsmith brothers went into rescue mode upon locating them as the water temperatures began to drop. They were able to help them to the shoreline and to their cabin to call for help.

Waters went on to report a State Park Police Officer was able to make contact with the two victims and their other parties that night. The two men did receive what appeared to be minor chemical burns on their chest and stomach areas but no medical treatment was needed. 

“The efforts of Justin and Jaden that day without a doubt saved the lives of the two victims. They were very brave,” said Waters, proud of the local youth for their actions.