Reports: Tents trapped Boy Scouts during deadly flash flood

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Details released of flash flood with California Boy Scouts.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Deadly floodwaters that tore through a Boy Scout troop’s New Mexico campsite as they slept turned their tents into wet cages that clung to their bodies like saran wrap, newly released police reports and taped interviews show. “You could hear people yelling, but you couldn’t understand what they were saying,” Michael Evans, one of the adults, told police of the chaos that June night. The material obtained by the Santa Fe New Mexican ( and released Sunday tells a story of a California troop fighting to get out of their tents as the raging floodwaters swept away the campsite. Theodor Morrow, a 19-year-old college student and first-year camp ranger, told investigators he made it outside and tried to hang onto other tents as they drifted away. “We floated down the stream, I guess, for a little bit,” Reed recalled. “I guess there was a hole in the bottom of the tent, and I slipped out of that.” Reed said he went underwater for a while and “never saw the tent after that.” He held onto a patch of reeds downstream until he was found at sunrise. Another boy who was swept away, Christian Heningburg, told police he was inside a waterproof sleeping bag and didn’t feel the water until another camper woke him up. “I had to do something because there was logs, like, piling up in front of me,” Heningburg said.

That morning, at least 2 inches of rain fell in a short amount of time, and the surge of water that swept through the canyon was as high as 20 feet and as wide as a football field, authorities said. “The actual little creek that runs down through there isn’t any more than a foot and a half, two feet wide, and the area of destruction had to be, I’m guessing, at least 50 yards wide, maybe wider,” Colfax County Sheriff Rick Sinclair said. New Mexico State Police investigated but didn’t draw any conclusions, including whether the ranch erred by allowing the troop to camp so close to a streambed that, according to the National Weather Service, had flooded before. The police report states a campsite farther upstream flooded regularly and “was closed for the safety of the scouts.” It doesn’t indicate how far upstream or if a specific event prompted its closure.

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