Archive for Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Scouts rescued from sandbar

July 27, 2005

Seven Boy Scouts and their adult leader who were stranded on a sandbar in the Kansas River were rescued Monday night east of De Soto.

"It all turned out well," said Dan Tallman, chief of Sherman Township Fire Department, who responded to help Bonner Springs firefighters with the call.

Clinton Long, Bonner Springs' fire chief, said the scouts and their leader, who were in four canoes, had been on a Camp Nash canoe trip with five other canoes.

The trip began Sunday when the group put their canoes in the river at Eudora. They camped Sunday night on a sandbar. Five of the canoes made it to their Edwardsville destination.

But Long said he thought the stranded scouts tired when carrying their canoes across sandbars.

"The sand goes nearly clear across the river in some places and the water was not deep enough for their canoes to flow on down," Long said. "... My understanding is they ran into several of those during the day and they got tired."

And, he said, he thought they may have run out of drinking water Monday morning.

The temperatures reached 99 degrees Monday afternoon. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature, combined with a relative humidity of about 32 percent, yielded a heat index of roughly 106 degrees.

Long said that a ranger at Camp Nash tried Monday to contact the group by cell phone. It wasn't until about 7:45 p.m. Monday that they made contact.

"But they (the scout group) had no idea where they were at," Long said, explaining the area they were in had high bluffs. " ... When we asked them if there was some kind of a landmark that they could see, they said, 'All we can see is water and sand.'"

The group did have a global positioning unit with them, Long said.

"It still doesn't make it easy for us to locate them because we don't have anything we can put coordinates in like the aircraft do," Long said.

However, Long said they gave the information to the Kansas Highway Patrol, which sent out a helicopter. Within a short time, the helicopter located the group.

Long, who estimated the stranded scouts had canoed 12 to 14 miles down the river, said they were rescued by vehicles at about 8:30 p.m.

"This is the first time we have had to rescue someone off a sandbar because they got tired," Long said.

The scouts were happy to be rescued, Long said. And, they were safe.

"They had gone without water, they were sore," Long said. "But other than that they were fine."

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