16-Year-Old Boy Scout Dies After Troop Runs out of Water in Arizona Desert

By Venus Upadhayaya, Epoch Times
May 4, 2019 Updated: May 4, 2019

A 16-year-old boy scout died when his troop ran out of the water while hiking in the Arizona desert on April 27.

According to Pinal County sheriff’s officials, a Scouts BSA group was hiking at Picacho Peak Park on Saturday when the boy had no water and fell unconscious, reported KGUN-TV.

The troop had water but by the time they reached the top of the peak they ran out and on their way back, the boy started showing signs of dehydration.

A member of the hiking group called 911 for help but by the time the responders reached them he had fallen unconscious.

A team from Avra Fire Department and a park ranger tried to revive him but he was declared dead on the scene.

It’s not yet clear if his death was caused by dehydration and officials are now investigating the possible causes.

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.

Follow Venus on Twitter: @venusupadhayaya