Boy Scout dies in flash flood at Philmont

Ellen Miller-Goins

Saturday morning (June 27) a teenage Boy Scout died at Philmont Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico, when a flash flood swept him and three other Scouts away before they could get to safety.

His identity and age have not been released.

According to a news release from Sgt. Chad Pierce, public information officer for the New Mexico State Police, at about 4:30 a.m. a flash flood in North Ponil Canyon, 15 miles northeast of the main Philmont Scout Ranch Training Center, swept away four Boy Scouts.

The Scouts were part of a group that was on a 12-day trek across the ranch, including eight Boy Scouts (ages 14 to 17), one adult Philmont Scout Ranger (Guide/Instructor), and three adult Crew Leaders. 

According to Pierce, “as the flood water swept through the canyon, it over ran the Scouts camp site resulting in four Boy Scouts being swept away.

“Philmont staff members immediately responded and located three of the four Boy Scouts… down the canyon. At approximately 9:35 a.m. the New Mexico State Police was contacted and a Search and Rescue mission was initiated, at approximately 11  a.m. the missing Boy Scout was located, deceased, approximately 3/4 of a mile to 1 mile from where the water swept him away.

“Names of those involved are being withheld at this time pending notification.”

A Philmont Scout Ranch news release stated, “This is a very difficult time for our entire Scouting family.… We have notified the family and are supporting them in any way we can. We are also mindful of the Scouts and adult volunteer leaders present on the trek, and we are also working to support those affected by this tragic incident.… Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and we are supporting them in any way that we can.”

According to the Philmont release, About 20,000 Scouts visit Philmont for backpacking treks and training and service programs on 214 square miles of terrain in Northern New Mexico.

“The health and safety of our youth members is our top priority.”