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Texas Scout dies of heat stroke on backpack


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#1 RememberSchiff

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 03:56 AM

A North Texas family is grieving the unexpected loss of their son. Reid Comita, 15, collapsed at the Buffalo Trails Scout Ranch in West Teas, where he was at the beginning of a week long backpack trip. The temperature Sunday reached 105 degrees.

 

His parents are awaiting autopsy results for the exact cause of death.

 

John Comita said his son loved the Scouts and lived it.

 

Reid had been on his way to Eagle Scouts status when he died, most likely of heat stroke.


More information and video
 
Scout salute and farewell.

Edited by RememberSchiff, 15 June 2017 - 04:05 AM.

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#2 NJCubScouter

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 07:53 AM

Condolences to the family and troop.


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#3 Col. Flagg

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 08:42 AM

Very sad. I love my state but summer camp here can be harsh if you don't have a lake to plunge in to. BTSR is a great camp any other time of the year. They have a great cavalcade program and the scenery in the fall, winter and spring is awesome. Great mountains and really great hiking. But it is in the middle of west Texas. There are few places for shade and no watering hole (not used for drinking) where you could plunge in and lower your body temperature.


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#4 mashmaster

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 12:27 PM

yes very sad, My troop goes there for base camp in a week but that is much different from the program he was on.  


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#5 RememberSchiff

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 05:09 AM

Update:

 

The El Paso County medical examiner’s office ruled Scout Reid Comita's death caused by heatstroke.  A record heat wave has now moved into the West.

 

The teen was working on his last mandatory merit badge, the camping merit badge, when he died while on the hike, his family said.

 

His Eagle Scout project was to build a playhouse and landscape the area for The Gatehouse, a home for women and children in crisis, in Grapevine.

 

That project will be completed in Comita’s honor by several members of the North Texas scouting community and friends.

 

More at source link

http://www.star-tele...e156989659.html


 

Edited by RememberSchiff, 20 June 2017 - 10:40 AM.

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#6 RememberSchiff

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 07:46 AM

"The Boy Scouts of America are responsible for my son's death. It's that simple. " said his father John Comita, a former scout himself.

 

Reading the article, the Comita's have, IMO, some strong arguments.

 

"The backpacking course would have been Reid's final task to accomplish Eagle Scout. His troop has since awarded him the honor posthumously."

 

http://www.wfaa.com/...wsuit/471806992


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#7 qwazse

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 08:41 AM

"The Boy Scouts of America are responsible for my son's death. It's that simple. " said his father John Comita, a former scout himself.

 

Reading the article, the Comita's have, IMO, some strong arguments.

 

"The backpacking course would have been Reid's final task to accomplish Eagle Scout. His troop has since awarded him the honor posthumously."

 

http://www.wfaa.com/...wsuit/471806992

This is very sad.

Especially, this article made it sound like the backpacking trip was mandatory. That confuses me:

  • Nobody has to backpack in mid-summer to advance in rank.
  • No 15 year old needs to advance in rank right away.
  • No scout has to earn Eagle, ever.

I've never done it, so 5 miles at 100+ degree heat on level ground sounds like a technical hike to me. Other's can expound. However, I have a friend who collapsed at mile 3 (he insists it was 5) in the Pittsburgh marathon that put him in the ICU for months and rehab for years. I visited him in the ICU and told him that between him and another friend who passed while on an evening run, I was going to take up drinking and smoking. I never did, but since then, on any sort of hike, we evaluate regularly ... especially on the stressful parts -- every 100 yards if needed. Setting up camp mid-day, turning back, or diverting to plan B, C, D is always an option. Adjust, adjust, adjust. Even the mighty can fall.


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#8 RememberSchiff

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 08:55 AM

According to this earlier article, he was working on Camping merit badge and this Introduction to Backpacking course was part of that?

 

http://www.mysananto...as-11233898.php


Edited by RememberSchiff, 07 September 2017 - 09:04 AM.

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#9 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 12:27 PM

According to this earlier article, he was working on Camping merit badge and this Introduction to Backpacking course was part of that?
 
http://www.mysananto...as-11233898.php


Very sad story, prayers with the family and his fellow scouts.

I was wondering about the hike myself. The only thing I can think of is the hike with a 1000 foot rise in elevation. I have limited experience in West Texas, but from what I remember it would be tough to find an elevation change of that magnitude in a 5 mile hike. I only remember complete flatness.

Regardless, it is a truly sad story.
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#10 MattR

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 01:32 PM

That sure is terrible.

 

Just my guess, but rather than a 1000 ft climb (9.1) he was likely doing 9.2, Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.

 

That's not the issue, though. There were two other "teenagers" with him and I wonder what kind of training they had. We see plenty of merit badge counselors that don't belong at summer camps. Is this what happened?


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#11 mashmaster

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 01:50 PM

That sure is terrible.

 

Just my guess, but rather than a 1000 ft climb (9.1) he was likely doing 9.2, Backpack, snowshoe, or cross-country ski for at least 4 miles.

 

That's not the issue, though. There were two other "teenagers" with him and I wonder what kind of training they had. We see plenty of merit badge counselors that don't belong at summer camps. Is this what happened?

I believe he was on the high adventure program, I was there the week after them, and that camp have elevation unlike most of Texas.  That week was very hot, but I would refrain from accusations about the other people there.  I feel horrible for the family.


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#12 Col. Flagg

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 02:40 PM

Folks I've live in Texas for 15 years. We've done summer camp in state and obviously camp here a great deal. I've been to this camp and I've done a ton of backpacking.

I can tell you without a doubt, NO ONE wants to camp and hike in Texas in the summer if there are other options (e.g., Philmont). This past June it was insanely hot. My own unit cancelled outdoor events due to the heat index. To be out in that weather, little shade, little water and no place to bring down body heat in an emergency is simply INSANE!! As an SM i would not recommend any of my Scouts or adults undertake such adventures. It's simply too dangerous and there are other options (fall, winter or spring).

I'm not sure who is to blame but any parent or adult leader living in Texas knows why we stay indoors most of the summer or hang by the lake or pool.
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#13 mashmaster

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 05:25 PM

Folks I've live in Texas for 15 years. We've done summer camp in state and obviously camp here a great deal. I've been to this camp and I've done a ton of backpacking.

I can tell you without a doubt, NO ONE wants to camp and hike in Texas in the summer if there are other options (e.g., Philmont). This past June it was insanely hot. My own unit cancelled outdoor events due to the heat index. To be out in that weather, little shade, little water and no place to bring down body heat in an emergency is simply INSANE!! As an SM i would not recommend any of my Scouts or adults undertake such adventures. It's simply too dangerous and there are other options (fall, winter or spring).

I'm not sure who is to blame but any parent or adult leader living in Texas knows why we stay indoors most of the summer or hang by the lake or pool.

I am also in Texas.  The week we went it was hot but not insane.  It was cooler than when we went to Hale in Oklahoma last year.


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#14 RememberSchiff

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 06:55 AM

Good report by CBS Morning show. $1mil lawsuit.

 

https://www.cbsnews....uts-of-america/


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#15 Col. Flagg

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 08:08 AM

I'm surprised it's only $1m. I have no clue how such amounts are set but I suppose it's based on statute and other factors.
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#16 elitts

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:42 PM

I just wish the news organizations would actually check out statements that their subjects make and verify or qualify them when they are incorrect.  I realize the father thinks it is a policy that there be 2 adults on any hike, but it's incorrect.  Yet every news organization is effectively letting that be reported as "the truth" by publishing his statements with no indication as to whether or not it's true.


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#17 RememberSchiff

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 04:39 PM

I just wish the news organizations would actually check out statements that their subjects make and verify or qualify them when they are incorrect.  I realize the father thinks it is a policy that there be 2 adults on any hike, but it's incorrect.  Yet every news organization is effectively letting that be reported as "the truth" by publishing his statements with no indication as to whether or not it's true.

 

His parents stated that they signed him up for an Intro to Backpacking Trek which is listed in the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch High Adventure pamphlet.

http://buffalotrailb...ure-Booklet.pdf

 

On page 5, "Adult Leadership on Treks - all crews going on the trail must have adult leaders..."

Pages 6-9, detail the Introduction to Backpacking.


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#18 elitts

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:41 AM

His parents stated that they signed him up for an Intro to Backpacking Trek which is listed in the Buffalo Trail Scout Ranch High Adventure pamphlet.

http://buffalotrailb...ure-Booklet.pdf

 

On page 5, "Adult Leadership on Treks - all crews going on the trail must have adult leaders..."

Pages 6-9, detail the Introduction to Backpacking.

 

I realize that, but this wasn't a crew going out on the trail on a "Trek".  The scouts in the "Intro to Backpacking" were still in the "base camp" portion of the week.  They weren't out backpacking over-night, it was just a day-hike.  My troop's camp-outs all follow the "Two Deep Leadership" rule, but if one of our patrols wishes to take an hour or two day-hike, they are allowed to as long as they clear it with the SM first.  "Two Deep Leadership" has NEVER meant that all scouts will be accompanied by 2 adults at all times; it simply means that the over-all outing has at least 2 adults (one over 21).

 

So as far as I can tell, here are the relevant rules:

 

Two Deep Leadership:  Rule met because 2 adults were supervising at base camp;

Buddy System: Rule met because the scout wasn't out on a hike by himself;

No One on One contact: Rule met because there was an additional scout along with the 15-year old and the 18-year old.

 

The only real issues here that I can see is "Did they get approval from the ranking adult before commencing the hike" and "Should the ranking adult have approved the hike given the weather conditions?"


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#19 Col. Flagg

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 10:45 AM

I realize that, but this wasn't a crew going out on the trail on a "Trek".  The scouts in the "Intro to Backpacking" were still in the "base camp" portion of the week.  They weren't out backpacking over-night, it was just a day-hike.  My troop's camp-outs all follow the "Two Deep Leadership" rule, but if one of our patrols wishes to take an hour or two day-hike, they are allowed to as long as they clear it with the SM first.  "Two Deep Leadership" has NEVER meant that all scouts will be accompanied by 2 adults at all times; it simply means that the over-all outing has at least 2 adults (one over 21).
 
So as far as I can tell, here are the relevant rules:
 
Two Deep Leadership:  Rule met because 2 adults were supervising at base camp;
Buddy System: Rule met because the scout wasn't out on a hike by himself;
No One on One contact: Rule met because there was an additional scout along with the 15-year old and the 18-year old.
 
The only real issues here that I can see is "Did they get approval from the ranking adult before commencing the hike" and "Should the ranking adult have approved the hike given the weather conditions?"


Then they shouldn't put this in their Leader Guide: "Adult Leadership on Treks - all crews going on the trail must have adult leaders..."

They were "out on the trail" so they should have had two adults per their own guide.
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#20 elitts

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 12:40 PM

Then they shouldn't put this in their Leader Guide: "Adult Leadership on Treks - all crews going on the trail must have adult leaders..."

They were "out on the trail" so they should have had two adults per their own guide.

 

But this wasn't  "a Crew going out on the trail" in the context of a "Trek", it was 3 guys doing a non-programmatic day hike.  The "Trek" for the the Intro to Backpacking course didn't start until Wednesday.  Therefore the section of the brochure headed with "Adult Leadership on Treks" wasn't applicable.  If you can find me a section that discusses "Adult Leadership at Base Camp" you will have something to point to.


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