Boy Scout dies in flash flood while camping in New Mexico

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Monday, June 29, 2015

CIMARRON, NM -- A Boy Scout on a camping trip with his troop in northern New Mexico died Saturday after he and three other teens were swept away in a flash flood, authorities said.

The teen was one of eight Boy Scouts participating in a 12-day trek at the Philmont Scout Ranch when the flooding hit, New Mexico State Police spokesman Chad Pierce said. The boys ranged in age from 14 to 17. They were accompanied by three adult crew leaders and a scout ranger employed by the ranch.

Pierce said floodwaters came through North Ponil Canyon, where they were camping, around 4:30 a.m. He said the water over-ran their camp site, taking the four boys down the canyon.

Ranch employees immediately sprang into action and were able to rescue three of the boys, Pierce said.

State Police were called around 9:30 a.m. and a search and rescue team found the other teen about an hour-and-a-half later. His body was recovered roughly a mile from where he was swept away.

Authorities are not releasing the teen's identity pending family notification.

Philmont Scout Ranch, which is located in Cimarron roughly 50 miles south of the Colorado state line, bills itself as a top destination for "high adventure" and training for the Boy Scouts of America. Comprised of more than 200 square miles, the facility offers Scouts opportunities to learn about camping, rock climbing and other activities. According to the ranch, about 20,000 Scouts visit Philmont annually.

In a statement posted to its website, Philmont Ranch called the death a "very difficult time for our entire Scouting family" and expressed sympathy for the teen's family.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are supporting them in any way that we can," the statement said. "At Philmont we strive to provide a safe and inspiring setting for Scouts to experience the natural environment of northern New Mexico and seek to protect both Scouts and wildlife."