Posted: May 2, 2011 7:26 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: May 2, 2011 9:05 PM
Arkansas State Police have pulled a helicopter equipped with infrared from the air. They say no visual contact was made with any of the missing boy scouts. State Police say they've pulled the chopper due to excessive cloud cover and are not likely to return to the air until Tuesday morning.
The National Guard tells boy scout officials they remain optimistic about getting their aircraft over the site where the scouts are believed to be missing, setting their time table at around 3AM.
However, ASP say they're not likely to return to the air until later Tuesday morning. They say cloud cover is an issue at a 3AM timetable seems unlikely.
No one has seen or heard from an Acadiana boy scout group missing in Arkansas for several days.
Six boys and two scout leaders were supposed to be back in Lafayette last night.
Officials say they were on a trail in the Ouachita forest, just north of Langley, Arkansas.
Montgomery County Deputies say they believe the group is stranded between two flooded areas of the trail however, there is no cell-phone reception and have not been able to make contact with Troop 162.
The boy scouts are in the same area where flash flooding killed 20 campers last June.
Officials believe the group is on high ground and say they had camping supplies with them including food, water and tents.
At Lafayette's boy scout headquarters, scout directors have been eyeing the weather all day and are hoping and praying for a safe return.
Scout Executive Art Hawkins was no exception. He remains confident the scouts are in safe hands.
"The scout leaders are very experienced backpackers," Hawkins said.
Assistant Scout Master, Greg Duplechain says he's hiked that same trail in Arkansas and knows the challenges this group can come across.
"It's very hilly and they have short bluffs," Duplechain said of the terrain. "Especially where the flooding is going on."
Duplechain says he knows one of the scout leaders personally and 'would trust his own children in his hands.'
While those words may be comforting for some scout relatives, they still hope for a safe return sooner than later.
"We can't control landslides, we can't control floods," Chester Stutes said.
Stutes is a proud grandfather of one of those missing scouts. He says it's the weather that concerns him the most but he says he has faith his grandson will return home soon.
"I'm going to give him a big hug." Stutes says, "that's the first thing I'm going to do."
Arkansas State Police hope to try to put a helicopter in the air if there's a break in the weather. Boy scout leaders say if the group is not found, the search on the ground will resume tomorrow morning or until the scouts are found.