According to the Washington County Sheriff's Office, Bonds developed a cramp while swimming near the U.S. Highway 412 bridge in Springdale and disappeared beneath the surface before his friends could swim to their pontoon boat and return to help him.
Officials said alcohol was not a factor.
Bonds, 34, became director of the Building Trades program for the Eureka Springs School District in 2008 and was a beloved instructor.
District Superintendent Curtis Turner described himself at a loss for words. "My thoughts go out to the family," he said. "In the morning I will be getting with our school counselors and we will collectively work out a counseling situation for any students who might need it following this tragedy."
School counselor Rachal Hyatt said Bonds was a mentor and parent for many of his students in the SkillsUSA program at the school. "There are plenty of kids we've seen today who are devastated by this," she said.
"Not only was he a good friend but a wonderful dad," said family friend Donna Perkins. "It was very evident how much he loved his three girls, Lindsey, Lily and Katie, and his wife Jackie. I never saw him miss one of his girls' ballgames. He took the time to coach girls' basketball and be there for them. He was a great influenced on a lot of young people as a teacher."
"This man was one of the most decent human beings you would ever want to meet," said Geekfest commenter 'akerue'. "He cared deeply about his family and his students. Mike went the extra mile with his students, often with his own time and resources to keep them in school and headed in the right direction. He replaced a local legend when he took over the building and trades program and did nothing but make it even better."
Visitation for the family will be Thursday, Aug. 9, at Faith Family Christian Church at 157 Huntsville Road in Eureka Springs, and the funeral service will take place at the same location on Friday, Aug. 10, at 10 a.m.
A fund for the family has been set up at Community First Bank under the name "Jackie Bonds Benefit Fund."