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Two Boy Scouts killed in separate accidents

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Two 12-year-old Boy Scouts died within minutes of each other in separate tragedies on Wednesday one drowning while scuba diving in Bear Lake and the other struck by lightning while camping near Scofield Reservoir.


"The entire scouting community is devastated by this," said Vic Rowberry, a spokesman for the Salt Lake office of the Boy Scouts of America. "Our concerns right now turn to the families of those who were there and for the victims families."


Added Boy Scouts spokesman Rick Barnes: "Weve had single incidents, but we have never had two in one day in different locations affecting our council like this."


A troop was at Scofield Scout Camp near Madsen Bay at Scofield Reservoir when lightning struck at 10:50 a.m., said Carbon County Sheriff James Cordova.


The troop was on a knoll when a storm came in quickly, Cordova said. Scout leaders were taking the boys to shelter when lightning struck the victim and another 12-year-old, he said. Both boys are from South Salt Lake and the pair were at the back of the troop line, said Cordova.


The two were best friends, said Bishop Matthew Parson, who leads the LDS ward that took part in the camping trip. The boy who was killed invited the other along for the trip, he said.


Now, the boys parents and two siblings are with family, he added.


"Theyre in grief dealing with the loss of their son," Parson said. "They wonder why, and are trying to figure out more details of how it happened."


Scout leaders tried to resuscitate the child, and emergency crews took over for nearly a half-hour, but the boy was pronounced dead before being flown by helicopter to Primary Childrens Medical Center, said John Gailey, program director for the Utah National Parks Council of the Boy Scouts of America.


Parson knew the boys and spoke with both families on Wednesday.


"He was really involved in Scouts," Parson said about the 12-year-old ward member. "He was here every week."


The injured boy was in fair condition at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo.


Rowberry said he understood the victim had been directly struck by lightning, while the second Scout was nearby, being stunned and sustaining "slight burns."


Gailey said the second boy hadnt realized he had been affected by the lightning, but asked to lie down. Scout leaders told Gailey the boy had a rash-like burn on his body.


The rest of the troop, which had left Monday and planned on a weeklong camp, returned to their homes in South Salt Lake on Wednesday afternoon, Gailey said.


"Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families," Gailey said.


Cordova said the area has been pounded by southern monsoon weather for the past week and a half, but Wednesdays storm was an unusually fast-moving one that brought lightning, rain and hail.


"This storm really encompassed the area quickly," Cordova said. "Obviously we get storms up in that area, but its been awhile since we had a storm like that ... it was extreme by all levels."


The incident marked the second fatal lightning strike in three days. A 56-year-old Price man was struck near Wedge Overlook, about 20 miles east of Castle Dale on Monday.


The other Scout who died Wednesday was a Las Vegas boy participating in a scuba diving experience as part of a weeklong aquatics camp at Bear Lake, said Rowberry.


Rowberry said the organization is still gathering information, but what is known so far is that a group of Scouts went out in the water to dive and the boy apparently became separated from the group around 11 a.m.


When the other Scouts surfaced and the boy did not, a search went on for about 30 minutes before he was found and rushed to a hospital in Logan, Rowberry said.


The boy had the proper equipment for the activity, including a buoyancy control vest, he added.


The organization has an aquatic and risk management committee that will investigate and review the incident to determine what happened.


Rowberry said the Bear Lake Aquatics Base camp located on the east side of the lake provides activities ranging from nature and conservation studies to archery and scuba diving.


Bob Mims contributed to this report.

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I will put on my fireproof neckerchief.


In the lightning case they should have picked an alternate route or gone down hill and endured the soaking.


To the scuba drowning, I saw no mention of a divemaster with the group, the bigger problem is keeping track of anyone in a murky lake and with beginer divers they will stir up mud/silt from the bottom. Frankly I'dd keep boys that youg restricted to pool diving. BTW a buoyancy control vest is not great safety equipment, it allows you to over weight, if you must surface drop your weight belt. It is also possible he became entangled in fishing line or net, this is a nightmare sceanaro. The diveing area should have been cleared of this sort of thing.


Rest in peace young men.

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I've been caught in mountain storms. If you're used to livin' on the plains where yeh can see stuff building and comin' for miles, yeh might not appreciate how quickly a mountain storm can msterialize. The terrain acts as an accelerator while at da same time hiding some information on weather from sight. Sounds like they just took time to get organized, buddy up, and head down as a group, and that was enough. Yeh can always armchair quarterback this stuff, but nuthin' there seems unreasonable.


I agree with murky lake water divin'. Keep in mind though that the intermountain west has rockier soils and harder bottoms than us folks more to the east. Colder temps and less plant life too, eh? Da waters tend to be clearer. Young dive buddies can get confused, and if a lad gets hung up, panics, has an asthma incident previously undiagnosed... All kinds of possibilities.


My heart goes out to all da kids and adults in these units, and especially the families.


Why is this always happenin' in Salt Lake Council?



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How very sad and tragic.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families.

I think before we start looking for cause or finding fault, it's better to allow the people who were there do their own investigation.


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How sad. My prayers are with the families and troops of these boys.


That being said, this is an observation I've made here before and it isn't intended to offend anyone, although I'm sure it will. Has anyone else noticed that many of the deaths of scouts tend to be LDS units in Utah? Why is that? Do the leaders not avail themselves of the safety training BSA provides?

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SR540 - it probably has more to do with reporting. We have as many tragedies on this side of the Mississippi. Three years, and I haven't gotten over a loss in our troop. That one never made it as a topic on this board, nor did we intend it to.


I do know that the mom has appreciated our (somewhat feeble) gestures to remember the young man. His buddies, my son included, have grown through it all. Pray that the young men around these two manage to do the same.

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Just a note Bear Lake has very clear water. I have boated near the camp dive area and you can see the bottom well. Bear Lake also has a very sandy bottom much like ocean beaches. Its a very popular swimming and boating lake. While I'm sure there are deep area in the lake where the water could be dark from what I have seen the camps area is not like that. Although I don't know all the areas where the camp would dive.


The question I have would be where was the boys dive buddy and why did the buddy not pay attention to where the boy was.


A terrible lose that may have been prevented if the simple buddy system rule was followed. I just hope BSA doesn't freak out and come up with another safety rule just to make it look like they are doing something. Accidents happen.

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I've been following the lightning incident since last week. It is interesting as the family works through the grief. This weekend they were blaming the Boy Scouts but they seem to have backed off some on that. From http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52213673-78/david-sean-rayborn-connie.html.csp


David was among a group of Scouts returning to shelter when the storm moved in. He and fellow Scout friend and neighbor Sean Smith, also 12, were at the back of the group when the lightning struck. Sean told his parents that he and David were standing and looking at the lighting and started running up the hill to their campsite once hail started falling.


Supposedly, the boys where not told what to do when in a lightning storm. I'm a bit skeptical as I've yet to be at a camp orientation that it was not covered.

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  • 10 months later...

Update to scuba diving drowning at Bear Lake - parents filed lawsuit alleging "that the defendants failed to ensure the boy was properly equipped, dressed and weighted. It states that they provided defective equipment and did not manage, monitor or supervise the boys air supply.


When the emergency situation arose, the parties failed to aid and properly rescue Tuvell (12yr old son) , the lawsuit alleges.


"Defendant Corbett Douglas (dive instructor) and other defendants failed to prepare and implement an adequate dive plan," the lawsuit states.


The parents claim all the defendants were negligent, strictly liable and failed to warn of the dangers posed by being part of the diving program."


from Salt Lake Tribune


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This is a story of the incident in the other post about the parents bringing a lawsuit, the incident happened about a year ago.


At first I saw the lawsuit one, when I read this post & noticed it also was a Bear lake, but you stated it happened on Wednesday, I thought Bear Lake Campground is going to have a lot of questions to answer with two deaths related to scuba diving within a years time..


So just helping others to not be as confused as I was.

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