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NJ Boy Scouts Rescued From Grand Canyon
abc ^ | 08.19.08 | MARK MOONEY

Posted on 08/24/2008 5:59:03 PM PDT by Coleus

When the six Boy Scouts from suburban Maplewood, N.J., went camping in the Grand Canyon, they expected an adventure they would long talk about, but they did not expect to be clinging to treetops and praying to survive a flash flood. The six Scouts and three adult leaders were eventually guided to safety by American Indians who live in the area, and plucked out of the wilderness by a Black Hawk helicopter. By the time they flew away, the 10-yard-wide canyon next to a stream where they had been camping had become a 300-yard-wide raging river.

The scouts and their leaders were among more than 200 people rescued from the flash floods that followed heavy rains and the failure of a dam this past weekend. Rescuers were still combing the vast national park for 11 campers who were either washed away, are still in the park, or have simply gone home and are unaware that people are searching for them. For the Jersey scouts, however, the flood was a test of their motto to "Be Prepared." Through a harrowing night and the next day, the Scouts earned their badges, said Kevin Muench, who was along on the trip with two of his sons, Colin, 13, and Tommy, 11.

"It was part of their preparedness," said Muench, a dentist who has reveled in wilderness camping since his teens. "The Scouts, when they needed to do something, they did it. When they needed to hike, they really hiked." The troop had been camping for about a week when they set up their tents next to a stream in the narrow canyon. A ranger came by Saturday and told them to move to higher ground "because floodwaters are coming," Muench said.

(Excerpt) Read more at abcnews.go.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Arizona; US: New Jersey
KEYWORDS: boyscouts; bsa; bsalist; grandcanyon; havasuhike; rescue
Breaking News: Dam Breaks Near the Grand Canyon Forcing Hundreds to Evacuate [Havasupai]

1 posted on 08/24/2008 5:59:03 PM PDT by Coleus
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Rescued Maplewood Scouts 'have stories to tell'

Avery Walker, one of the Maplewood Boy Scouts, speaks at Maplewood Town Hall today.

They scampered up trees for safety, rode piggyback across rising waters and scaled the side of a cliff in the Grand Canyon using just a rope. But the highlight of a daring rescue effort for a group of Maplewood Boy Scouts was the Blackhawk helicopter that plucked them from the canyon and brought them to safety. "If I had to ride the helicopter, I would do it over and over and over again," said Ryan Morey, 12 at a news conference on the steps of Maplewood Town Hall. The six boys and three adult leaders of Troop 21 returned to New Jersey early Thursday morning after spending nearly two weeks out West. Looking bleary-eyed and overwhelmed by the news reporters camped in front of them, the boys, ages 11 to 14, took the microphone to share their account of the rescue.

The Scouts were among the 400 who were rescued from the Supai Canyon after the Redlands Earthen Dam gave way to heavy rainfall in northwest Arizona. "At nighttime, it was really, really scary because you couldn't see stuff," said Avery Wilson, 13. "I have stories to tell my children." Troop 21 is a fixture in Maplewood, dating to 1937. Every year, the troop has a high adventure trip to promote leadership and interpersonal skills. This year, the boys camped in Bryce and Zion national parks in Utah before heading to the Grand Canyon. They arrived there last Friday, hiking 10 miles to Havasu Falls, where they stayed for one night. On Saturday, they moved to higher ground after a park ranger warned them about flash flooding in the area, said Kevin Muench, 49, one of the adult leaders on the trip.

They moved to another campground some 50 yards away and went to bed early anticipating another long day of hiking. But at 1 a.m., they were awakened by other campers and told to gather their belongings because the water was rising. A group of Eagle Scouts from Nevada built a campfire. They sat in darkness, praying and listening to the roar of water and breaking trees. Around 8 a.m., troop leader Dug Nevius waded through the water to dry land to chase after a dog that wandered off. While he was there, he said he ran into four members of the Havasupai tribe who were rescuing others in the area. Nevius brought the Native Americans back to the campground where the Scouts were waiting. But the waters were rising quickly, dimming their hopes of a safe escape.


Troop 21 before the Havasu Hike at the Grand Canyon.

By then helicopters were hovering above, Nevius said, trying to land and drop ropes to the stranded campers. But when it appeared the water would wash over their campground, the adult leaders pushed the boys into trees, where they hung out for about 15 minutes. "I was getting calm and relaxed, then I heard, 'Go! Go!'" said Kyle Lai, 13. "I said, 'Are they talking to us?'" They were. The water had slightly receded and the boys were told to abandon their backpacks, sleeping bags and cooking gear and hop onto the backs of adults, said Nevius. The adults carried the boys through the water, which was about waist high, to dry land. From there, they used ropes and then hiked their way out of the canyon.

When they looked back, Nevius said, the water had crested and washed out the island they had been standing on minutes before. "Had we stayed a lot longer, we might've been killed," Nevius said. After spending seven hours in a horse pasture waiting to be flown out of the Supai area, they finally boarded a Blackhawk helicopter. That's when they cheered, Nevius said. Before heading home, they spent a few days at a resort in Las Vegas, hanging out by the pool.  Colin Muench, 13, said the rescue was scary but also fun. "I probably learned a lot of stuff like how to survive a real dangerous situation," he said. "It was exciting because nothing like this has happened to me before." Asked what he learned from the experience, Kyle Lai said, "Don't mess with Mother Nature."

Previous coverage from The Star-Ledger:

8/18/2008: N.J. Scouts evacuated after dam collapses

8/19/2008: As canyon water rose, a rope led Scouts out

2 posted on 08/24/2008 5:59:30 PM PDT by Coleus (Abortion and Physician-assisted Murder (aka-Euthanasia), Don't Democrats just kill ya?)
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To: Coleus; RonF; AppauledAtAppeasementConservat; Looking for Diogenes; Congressman Billybob; ...

Scout PING!


3 posted on 08/24/2008 6:01:07 PM PDT by SandRat (Duty, Honor, Country! What else needs said?)
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To: Coleus; SandRat

Great Scout story! Boys love it when they really get into trouble.


4 posted on 08/24/2008 6:02:23 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Obama: Can't kill the innocent fast enough, can't free the guilty soon enough!~ Diana in WI)
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To: Coleus

Strange - in the picture there is a scout called “Avery Walker” and in the article there is a scout called “Avery Wilson”. Are there, in reality, two Avery’s? Could be, but I suspect a typo somewhere. Great story though.


5 posted on 08/24/2008 6:04:33 PM PDT by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: Coleus

Great story to tell their kids and grandkids some day. Glad they’re safe.


6 posted on 08/24/2008 6:11:50 PM PDT by G.Love (FREE LAZ!)
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To: Coleus
While he was there, he said he ran into four members of the Havasupai tribe who were rescuing others in the area.

The unsung heroes in this.

7 posted on 08/24/2008 6:12:33 PM PDT by Smokin' Joe (How often God must weep at humans' folly.)
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To: Tax-chick

As I recall, they live for that stuff.

Like a redneck with a pick-up and a chain, they are hoping to come upon a car wreck.

;)


8 posted on 08/24/2008 6:15:45 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: patton

(And yes, I have pilled a camaro out of a tree)


9 posted on 08/24/2008 6:16:44 PM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: patton

Exactly! Almost-disasters are what make Boy Scouting fun (or so I understand from my husband and sons and their friends).


10 posted on 08/24/2008 6:18:59 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Obama: Can't kill the innocent fast enough, can't free the guilty soon enough!~ Diana in WI)
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To: Coleus

Hiking the Grand Canyon. Indian guides. Blackhawk helicopter rescue. Now that’s an adventure. (Glad it all ended well).


11 posted on 08/24/2008 6:25:33 PM PDT by 6SJ7
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To: 6SJ7

No - this was the BOY SCOUTS - not the INDIAN GUIDES...

I just couldn’t resist! ;-)

I’m actually glad to read this article. This is where I had my greatest summer camp as a lad in the BSA! I spent a week at the HavaSupai campsite.


12 posted on 08/24/2008 6:42:50 PM PDT by fremont_steve (Milpitas - a great place to be FROM!)
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To: patton

LOL, that does seem to be a favorite past-time around here doesn’t it?

The local law enforcement really gets annoyed when a “car in the ditch” is called in. Good ‘ole boys start drinking and run their truck in the ditch on Saturday night and a local comes along and yanks them out of the ditch before the law gets there to cite them for DUI.

Several years ago during the blizzard of ‘93 we had record snowfall. We aren’t used to snow. Anyway, my husband decided that since he couldn’t get the truck out he’d take the tractor and chain out to pull people out of the ditches. He forgot where the ditches were though (they were hidden under snow) and ran that big 100hp tractor off in a ditch less than 300 feet from the house. A neighbor with a bigger tractor had to come along and get him out. I think it’s a man thing. :-)


13 posted on 08/25/2008 3:07:32 AM PDT by Melinda in TN
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To: Coleus

“the 10-yard-wide canyon next to a stream where they had been camping”

I thought the BS taught common sense?

Not a place where I would have set up camp.


14 posted on 08/25/2008 4:43:04 AM PDT by wolfcreek (I see miles and miles of Texas....let's keep it that way.)
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To: wolfcreek
Not a place where I would have set up camp.

It was probably an established wilderness camping spot. To camp down in the Grand Canyon, wilderness permits are required so they can control the amount of people down there as it's a very special ecosystem. Also, there are strict regulations about where you can camp, esp. when you have a group of people. (I've camped down there twice at Bright Angel Campground-really a neat experience.)

15 posted on 08/25/2008 5:11:50 AM PDT by randita
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To: Tax-chick
As a Scout and Scouter, I Can verify that it is those camping trips where "things got tough" that stick in your memory. Those beautiful, crisp Autumn campouts are pleasant and fun, but soon fade into a blur of recollection with all the "other", similar experiences.
16 posted on 08/25/2008 5:34:40 AM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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To: Melinda in TN

LOL - slid my snowplow into a ditch that way once.


17 posted on 08/25/2008 6:41:11 AM PDT by patton (cuiquam in sua arte credendum)
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To: Coleus

Just days after my family went to the Canyon. I know one of my boys must have broken that dam. They look way to innocent when they tell me they didn’t.


18 posted on 08/25/2008 8:36:01 AM PDT by HungarianGypsy
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To: Tax-chick
"Almost-disasters are what make Boy Scouting fun"

Well, if not fun, at least interesting and memorable.

Our troop made boats one year, and then in the next year we took those boats down the Sacramento river, from the end of the rapids at Redding, to the public launch ramp in Sacramento. A much longer trip than any of us had anticipated.

The boats were wooden kayak-looking things, with just enough room for one person in each. We used our duffel bags as seat cushions. The first thing that happened was the loss of our supply boat. Everyone had just assumed that we could just tie it to the stern of one of the other boats, since we were essentially just floating along with the current, but on the third day it got sideways to a gravel bar in a fast moving part of the river, and was broken to bits. Then we had to salvage the grub, and distribute it to all the rest of the boats.

Immediately thereafter, we all recognized that it should have been tied between two of the boats, but hindsight is usually 20-20.

19 posted on 08/25/2008 8:41:34 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Jimmy Carter is the skidmark in the panties of American History)
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To: 6SJ7
"Indian guides"

If it had been Indian guides, they would not likely have survived. Indian guides is more like a school field trip than a real camping trip.

20 posted on 08/25/2008 8:44:23 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Jimmy Carter is the skidmark in the panties of American History)
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To: editor-surveyor

My sons’ troop burned down one of their tents last year.


21 posted on 08/25/2008 8:54:27 AM PDT by Tax-chick (Obama: Can't kill the innocent fast enough, can't free the guilty soon enough!~ Diana in WI)
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To: Tax-chick
"My sons’ troop burned down one of their tents last year."

How high was the 'fun' level?

22 posted on 08/25/2008 8:57:34 AM PDT by editor-surveyor (Jimmy Carter is the skidmark in the panties of American History)
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To: TXnMA
TXnMA said: "Those beautiful, crisp Autumn campouts are pleasant and fun, ..."

Years ago my troop attended a camporee, with the intention of competing with other troops demonstrating various outdoor skills.

Just after we arrived it began to rain very heavily. We toughed it out and erected our tents, dug the drainage ditches to keep the water out, and secured our food supply from the animals. Then we found that we had little to do but sit in our tents while it rained. There was every prospect that the entire weekend would be spent that way.

We sent for the parents to pick us up and were back home by midnight. We didn't care how tough things got, but there was very little interest in being bored.

23 posted on 08/25/2008 12:39:16 PM PDT by William Tell (RKBA for California (rkba.members.sonic.net) - Volunteer by contacting Dave at rkba@sonic.net)
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To: editor-surveyor

Well, they talk about it every time they mention camping.


24 posted on 08/25/2008 12:39:25 PM PDT by Tax-chick (Obama: Can't kill the innocent fast enough, can't free the guilty soon enough!~ Diana in WI)
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To: randita

“It was probably an established wilderness camping spot”

Leave it to the government....

I guess I won’t be experiencing camping in that canyon. Momma didn’t raise no idiot.


25 posted on 08/25/2008 1:14:04 PM PDT by wolfcreek (I see miles and miles of Texas....let's keep it that way.)
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To: Coleus; Jeff Head

As a 1970 Eagle Scout all I can say is that Scouting is an adventure and these young men got theirs on a Grand (canyon) scale !........Glad they all came home safe !

All those paper drives and car washes payed off in lifes lessons !


26 posted on 08/25/2008 1:18:25 PM PDT by Squantos (Be polite. Be professional. But, have a plan to kill everyone you meet)
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To: William Tell
"We didn't care how tough things got, but there was very little interest in being bored."

You probably did the right thing.

I said, "I Can verify that it is those camping trips where "things got tough" that stick in your memory."

Your comment begins, "Years ago..."

You made my point: you still remember the experience, and are, apparently proud of how you guys handled it. Now try to remember as much about one of those "It was beautiful" trips...

27 posted on 08/25/2008 4:23:58 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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