Boy Scouts from El Paso, Texas, were on a hiking trip in New Mexico earlier this month when they experienced a little bit more adventure than they had imagined.
According to KFOX-TV, the 16 children and 9 adults had a chance to put the Boy Scout motto, “Be Prepared,” to the test when they became trapped in the beautiful Gila National Forest.
They intended to spend a few days traveling to White Cabin Creek and returning down the West Fork of the Gila River.
They set up camp alongside the river, but when the water level rose, it imprisoned them. The situation was extremely dangerous, and it soon became evident that the troop would need outside aid. It wasn’t just a matter of navigating some shallow water.
According to Bob Rodgers, the coordinator of the New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue, “They were supposed to be out Thursday [Oct. 6], I believe, and so they actually had to, had to spend … Thursday night at that location, along with Friday night as well, before we actually had been notified,”
“We’re facing … a high-water river cross, especially at … the west fork of the Gila River there, where we can’t get anybody on the ground out there due to the … river condition.”
Parents who were expecting the scouts to return alerted the police when they didn’t arrive many hours after the scheduled time, according to a post by one mother.
Mom Judith Jaurrieta wrote on Facebook, “Two weeks ago, Bruno was completing a 50 miler camping trip with his Boy Scout Troop,”. “The weather turned and we experienced heavy rains for days. The Gila River’s current was too strong and high that crossings were ceased. Concerned parents called a search and rescue after the troop did not exit after several hours from the estimated time.”
Although the group was found, the circumstances prevented rescuers from getting to them that day.
Jose Hernandez, the facility supervisor for the New Mexico National Guard, said, “There was low [cloud] ceilings, there was strong winds, there was rain, there was thunderstorms in the vicinity, so those are the challenges that we as a pilot … got to take into consideration, because … it can make any mission like a high-risk mission.”
The New Mexico State Police’s hoist operator, Kurtus Tenorio, told KFOX, “We got in there … we made contact with them. We noticed that they were split between two groups and that they were kind of stranded between two … pieces of the river that kind of split the group up.”
More on this story via The Western Journal:
“The river’s running pretty violently, so it was assessed by them right away, hey, we have no contact with these people. We know where they’re at, you know, can you guys get overhead and start relaying the information to us? Which we did the best we could.”
Finally, on Oct. 8, both the New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico National Guard worked together to airlift all 25 backpackers and take them to their waiting families at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Visitor Center. CONTINUE READING…