Survivors of Boy Scout canoe trip mourn deaths of 2 campers
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The survivors of a Texas Boy Scout troop's adventure trip to the pristine canoe country along the Minnesota-Canadian border were grieving Friday over the deaths of a 13-year-old boy and a 39-year-old woman volunteer, a Scouting spokeswoman said.
The group from Troop 121 from Carrollton, Texas, paddled into the wilderness from the Northern Tier High Adventure Base near the northern Minnesota town of Ely. They were camped on the Canadian side of Basswood Lake in Quetico Provincial Park when strong winds blew through early Thursday, knocking down trees that killed the two campers. Two others were flown out with non-life-threatening injuries.
The Ontario Provincial Police identified the two who died as 13-year-old Christian James Sanchez of Lewisville, Texas, and 39-year-old Rorth Lac of Carrollton, Texas. They were part of a group of nine people, including three adults and six boys.
The survivors were taken back to the base camp and Scouting officials were helping Friday to arrange travel home, said Effie Delimarkos, communications director for the Boy Scouts of America. She said none were available Friday to speak about their ordeal.
"The priority really is to help them grieve and support them through this difficult time. ... It's really about a time for grief and remembrance right now," Delimarkos said.
Troop 121 meets at First United Methodist Church in Carrolton, but Sanchez and several fellow Scouts are members at St. Andrew United Methodist Church in Plano, Texas, where the student ministry organized a prayer vigil Thursday evening.
"Over 200 parents and students gathered to pray, share memories of Christian and comfort each other, and to express our love and support for the Sanchez family," the church said in a statement Friday. "The death of Christian Sanchez is a loss for our church, the Sanchez family, and all who knew him."
Christian participated in the student ministry and youth choir at St. Andrew. He went on a mission trip this summer to repair homes in Los Angeles, and toured New York with the choir, the church said.
Lac was a former Marine and assistant scoutmaster who left behind four children and a husband, KDFW-TV in Dallas reported.
Troop 121's website says the troop was founded in 1950 and that it takes a high adventure trip every year.
Police wrapped up their investigation Friday and found nothing suspicious, Constable Jim Davis said. The results were turned over to the regional coroner's office, he said. Officials with the coroner's office declined to comment, citing Canadian confidentiality rules.
"For lack of a better term, we'd call it an act of God," Davis said.
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