Scouts confirm death related to “medical issue”

Posted at 6:19 PM, Jul 30, 2018

Evangeline Area Boy Scouts officials confirmed Friday that a young man on a Swamp Base canoe paddle collapsed and later died. 

The young man was participating in a program at the Scouts’ Swamp Base in the Atchafalaya Swamp, officials confirmed Friday. 

Officials said the young man died of a "sudden medical issue."

Scout Executive Art Hawkins said the 16-year-old was part of a Scout troop from another state. He said the young man was paddling strong in his canoe one minute and then collapsed. Swamp Base staff performed CPR on him until medical help arrived, he said. 

The teen’s fellow scouts were brought back to their Lafayette hotel, where grief counselors were waiting for them, he said. Any Scouts or leaders who wanted to talk to someone had the opportunity, he said, and were encouraged to do so. That grief counseling continues to be available to the affected Scouts and leaders, he said. 

The Swamp Base is open to Scout troops from all over the country who want a "high adventure trek," according to its website. Any leaders who bring their troops must be trained for these type of treks. The Swamp Base also provides highly-trained trek guides as well, Hawkins explained. 

Here’s the formal statement Hawkins provided: 

“This is an extremely difficult time for our Scouting family. We are sad to confirm the death of one of our youth members after he became unresponsive while on a canoe trip. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and we will support them in any way that we can.”

“We are mindful of the impact this incident may have on Scouts and volunteers present on the outing, and grief counselors are standing by to care for our Scouts and adult volunteers.”