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Jamboree documents released

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Jamboree documents released





Army: Witnesses did not recall seeing signs about power lines before four Scout leaders died




Tuesday, August 15, 2006


FREDERICKSBURG -- Three witnesses to the electrocution of four National Scout Jamboree leaders did not recall any signs warning of high-voltage power lines in the vicinity, according to investigative documents.


However, a photograph included in the documents does show the presence of a sign. And one Boy Scout from the Western Alaska troop stated he noticed the overhead electrical lines before a metal tent pole touched them on July 25, 2005, the first day of the quadrennial event at the U.S. Army's Fort A.P. Hill in Caroline County.


"We did not think about them," the youth said in a sworn statement.


The Army released the documents this month in response to The Times-Dispatch's continued federal Freedom of Information Act request for materials from the military's criminal investigation into the accident. The Army previously found no criminal wrongdoing arising from the accident.


The supporting documents, which include accounts from witnesses and emergency personnel, also detail the severity of the injuries sustained by the Western Alaska leaders. Witnesses say the four adult leaders were electrocuted when the center pole of a large canopy they were helping a contractor erect touched overhead power lines.


Boy Scouts of America officials say the organization provides individual troop leaders with a diagram suggesting how tents can be placed but that individual troop leaders decide where to put tents within their campsites.


Kenneth Schoolcraft, a lawyer for the family of one of the dead leaders, said last month that he does not know whether any lawsuits will be filed in the accident.


The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Tents & Events for two "serious" workplace-safety violations; the company paid $3,000 in fines. OSHA officials also said they would have cited the Boy Scouts of America for a violation if any of the Alaska Scout leaders had been employed by the organization. OSHA said it found "significant" safety concerns with the Boy Scouts of America.


The National Scout Jamboree has been held at Fort A.P. Hill since 1981, though its future at the Army base is the subject of a federal lawsuit alleging religious discrimination by the group and its use of federal property.



Contact staff writer Kiran Krishnamurthy at kkrishnamurthy@timesdispatch.com or (540) 371-4792.

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