Family of Boy Scout Who Died Says Group Was ‘Fully Prepared’

Family of Boy Scout Who Died Says Group Was ‘Fully Prepared’
A lone saguaro looms over the entrance of the Picacho Peak State Park in Picacho, Ariz. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

PHOENIX—The family of a 16-year-old Boy Scout who collapsed and died while on a troop hiking trip in the southern Arizona desert says he loved scouting and that he and fellow scouts and their leaders were experienced hikers “fully prepared” for their planned activities.

Joshua White of Goodyear died April 27 while at Picacho Peak State Park.

Picacho Peak State Park in Picacho, Ariz. on April 4, 2009. Authorities are investigating the death of a 16-year-old boy during a hike with a Boy Scouts troop in the Arizona desert. (Ross D. Franklin/AP Photo)

His family said in a statement released Friday night through the Boy Scouts that help was called immediately and life-saving measures taken “but unfortunately unable to revive him.”

Sheriff’s officials said the hikers had water but ran out at the top of the trail up 1,500-foot Picacho Peak.

White reportedly collapsed once while heading down the trail and was helped by some of his fellow scouts.

Authorities have released a 911 call about the boy on May 7.

On the 911 call released, a man tells a Pinal County dispatcher the group desperately needs water and help.

Cause of death was not immediately available but sheriff’s officials said the boy showed signs of extreme dehydration and died on the way down.

In another hiking-related death at a coastal park near Big Sur, an 18-year-old teen who fell into a blowhole was presumed dead after a four-day rescue ended in January this year.

The victim was identified as Braxton Cooper Stuntz of Carmel, Calif. Stuntz and his friends had been hiking at Garrapata State Park Beach on Jan. 12 when they found a blowhole near the cliffs along the Pacific Coast, according to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.

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Stuntz slipped and fell through the hole down to the rocky beach inside while exploring the marine geyser and trying to have a closer look.

The blowhole is flooded with waves measuring 14 feet high every nine seconds.

Sgt. Dave Murray told KSBW Stuntz’s friends saw the teen making a thumbs up signal right after the fall. However, after a few waves, his friends were not able to see Stuntz anymore.

Authorities said the waves filled the blowhole, dragged Stuntz out, and pushed him underwater into the sea.

Stuntz’s friend immediately sought help from a passerby, who called the police. First responders were not able to find Stuntz. As a result, members of the MCSO Search and Rescue, Mid-Coast Fire, Cal-Fire, California State Park Rangers/Lifeguards, and CHP Helicopter all joined the search effort for Stuntz.

“The United States Coast Guard boat from Monterey sector and helicopter from San Francisco sector arrived and conducted search patterns well into the night,” Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.

MCSO drone operators returned the next day to continue the search for Stuntz and attempted an underwater search. No sign of Stuntz was detected in the following days.

“At this time the young adult is classified as a missing person. However, operations have shifted into a recovery mode,” sheriff officials said.

Although warning signs can be seen across the area, concerned citizens say signage is far from adequate.

“It’s shocking how dangerous it can be out here. For people who don’t know the risks, it can be really alarming. You can slip and fall and be in big trouble,” local resident Jared Sandman told KION.

The Garrapata State Beach Park is 15 miles north of Big Sur, which is one of the most popular destinations in California, connected by the iconic Highway 1.

Epoch Times reporter Zach Li contributed to this article.

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