HENDERSON La. (KLFY) – A 16-year-old Boy Scout died suddenly Friday afternoon while canoeing with his troop members in the Atchafalaya Basin.
The boy was from out of state and was participating in a five-day, 61-mile paddle adventure, as part of the SwampBase High Adventure Program.
It’s a program the Evangeline Area Council of Boy Scouts of America, which serves the eight parishes of Acadiana, has been putting on for six years.
The scouts canoe more than 60 miles in the Atchafalaya Basin, from Bayou Courtableau, all the way down to Myette Point.
According to Art Hawkins, the Scout Executive and C.E.O. of the Evangeline Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, the troops were on their last day paddling and less than two miles from their endpoint, when one of the scouts was paddling, then he suddenly fainted and was unresponsive.
The Chitimacha Fire Protection responded immediately.
“The guys, they noticed CPR was already in progress, so once they got near the truck and got near the patient, they checked for vitals again and started CPR again, and hooked up the AED, and worked on the young guy until Acadian got there,” said Chief Billy Mora, Chitimacha Fire Protection.
Paramedics rushed the scout to the Franklin Foundation Hospital where the boy was pronounced dead.
The Evangeline Council of Boy Scouts of America says they monitor all participants throughout the trip, to make sure they are physically prepared.
According to Hawkins, the boy suffered from an unspecified medical condition prior to going on the trip, but the cause of death is still unknown.
A statement has been released: “This is an extremely difficult time for our scouting family. We are sad to confirm the death of one of our youth members after he became unresponsive while on a canoe trip. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and we will support them in any way that we can,” said Art Hawkins, Scout Executive/CEO, Evangeline Area Council, Boy Scouts of America.
Grief counselors are also on standby for the local scouts and adult volunteers.