Payson scouts recognized for recent rescue attempt
The Boys Scouts of America motto is "Be prepared," and that is just what the Boy Scouts in Payson Troop 1553 were when they helped a fallen hiker on Aug. 1. Varsity coach Spencer Heinz and assistant coach Wyatt Esplin and six scouts -- Nick Petersen, Keaten Gaskill, Garrett Esplin, Matthew Palmer, Jayden Hartle, and Blake Lloyd -- all 14 or 15 years old, were recognized at a Lindon City Council Meeting on Tuesday evening for their preparedness and willing service to an injured hiker. The group was presented with a plaque for their service.
Heinz and Esplin took the scouts to Dry Canyon on the morning of Aug. 1, where they were practicing rappelling for their Zions High Adventure.
"We got there early in the morning and set up the ropes," Heinz said. "Two of our scouts saw a young man fall off a 70-foot cliff. Wyatt called 911 and I went running over to the man with a few of the boys."
Heinz and the scouts immediately began treating the injured hiker.
"He had a head injury and an injured arm," Heinz said. "We tried to get the bleeding under control and treated him for shock. He was a little bit coherent so the boys talked to him as well."
Meanwhile, the other scouts went around to the bottom of the trail so they could show emergency personnel where the hiker was. Another scout took off his shirt and made a flag and waved it so his position on the mountain could be seen.
"The leader remained on the phone with 911 and guided our rescue personnel to the area of the fall," Lindon Police Chief Cody Cullimore said.
When emergency personnel arrived they decided that they would have to wait for search and rescue because the area was too steep.
"We let them know that we had ropes and could help," Heinz said. "We got our ropes and they were hooked to the backboard and we were almost able to get him off the trail before search and rescue came."
"Despite this being a traumatic thing for these boys, they performed very well," Cullimore said. "They did what first aid they could and then they allowed our fire service to use their ropes and equipment and helped physically carry the injured man down. If the scouts had not seen him fall, he could have been up there for days. The area where he fell is not visible from below and not an area where people normally go. It would have been a long shot to have had anyone go there and spot him."
Unfortunately, despite the valiant efforts of the scouts, firefighters and EMS, the hiker died.
"This was the first time our boys have had to deal with something like this," Heinz said. "All of the boys handled it very well. They were very somber. We went to the fire department were the firemen debriefed us and talked to us about the situation."
Cullimore presented the group with a plaque recognizing the scouts' service and their willingness and ability to help in a difficult situation.
"Our mountains are great, but they are dangerous," Cullimore said. "You need to be prepared and that is a big thing that scouting teaches. You not only learn skills to survive but to help other people."
"The boys learned a lot from this experience," Heinz said. "They learned that life is fragile. One of the boys was with me and was specifically helping with first aid. I told him afterwards that all the scouting he had done up to that point had trained him for this experience. This showed all of us, and even me as a leader, the importance of scouting and how good it is in emergency and life situations."
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09-20-2012, 11:17 PM #1
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