Boy Scout Troop Airlifted To Safety After Becoming Trapped for 2 Nights as Floodwaters Rose

by Lauren Boisvert
(Photo by rbkomar/Getty Images)

A Boy Scout troop from El Paso, Texas had to be airlifted out of the Gila National Forest in Silver City, New Mexico when they were stranded upstream of Gila River with floodwaters creeping in. The troop began their camping trip on Oct. 1 and were supposed to return a week later.

But, heavy rains trapped the 16 kids and 9 adults in the forest on Oct. 7. They were 3 miles upstream of the river, and their route required 15 crossings to get back to the Gila National Forest Visitor’s Center. According to a report from volunteer rescuers, the group attempted one river crossing with a human chain. The current swept two people downstream, but they both arrived safely to shore. They did not attempt another crossing, and were split on opposite sides of the river.

Silver City Police received a worried call about the Boy Scout troop on Oct. 8 when they didn’t return and no one could communicate with them. Bad weather in the area prevented police and search and rescue teams from attempting to reach the troop immediately.

Instead, helicopters flew over the area on Oct. 9 searching for the lost troop. There was nowhere to land in the forest, so rescuers were lowered in harnesses to retrieve the group. KRQE out of Albequerque reported that the operation took 17 hours to complete.

“Kids were jumping up and down; high fives hugs for everyone,” the hoist operator told KRQE. “You know, they were extremely excited that we had found them, and we’re starting to pull them.”

The troop was returned to the Visitor’s Center and reunited with their families. There were no injuries reported.

Boy Scout Troop Rescued From Forest in New Mexico, While a Hiker is Rescued in New Hampshire

On Oct. 15, a hiker on the South Ridge Trail on Mt. Cardigan in Orange, New Hampshire, slipped and fell, injuring his leg. The New Hampshire Fish and Game Department was called around 11:00 am to respond to the emergency.

Aaron Klohn of Cincinnati, Ohio, was hiking up the West Ridge Trail to Mt. Cardigan with his family earlier in the day. On their descent, he slipped on wet rocks and leaves, injuring his lower leg. He could not make it back down the mountain without assistance, so his family called 911.

Conservation Officers and the Upper Valley Wilderness Response Team responded to the call. Additionally, personnel from the Canaan, Enfield, Lebanon, Grafton, Rumney, Orford, and Hartford Fire Departments assisted. A response team helped Klohn down part of the way, then carried him the rest of the way down the steep mountain trail.

New Hampshire Fish and Game reminds hikers that terrain may be especially difficult this time of year, when trails take longer to dry out from rain. Slick obstacles like rocks may be obstructed by leaves, leading to injuries like this one.