NJ Scouts home from Grand Canyon

August 21, 2008 3:46:13 PM PDT
A group of Boy Scouts from New Jersey is finally back home after flooding in the Grand Canyon forced the evacuation of the campsite where they were staying. Hundreds of people had to be removed from the canyon by helicopter. Now, after a side trip to Las Vegas, the boys are talking about their rescue by a group of native Americans.

The group of six boys from Maplewood earned a mountain of respect after their real life battle against Mother Nature.

Days of rain were too much for a dam that broke, sending flood waters racing toward their campsite, located two-and-a-half miles down into the canyon, in the middle of the night.

"You could hear the trees coming down and the water rushing and rocks breaking on the canyon," troop leader Doug Nevis said. "But you couldn't see anything until the morning."

"It was exciting, because nothing like that has ever happened to me before," Scout Colin Muench said. "But it was also a little bit scary, because I didn't know what would happen."

"When the sun came out, you could see stuff and you were a little bit relieved that help was on the way," Scout Avery Walker said.

The Scouts shared their story for the first time since returning home before dawn Thursday. They say the most trying moment in the canyon came when the campsite became an island in the flood, and the waters were rising fast.

"We tried to make a sprint across all the logs," Nevis said. "Get to the adults, and basically push kids into the trees."

Helicopters were eventually able to drop ropes to pull them and other campers to safety. And to end the trip on a good note, trip leaders took the boys to Las Vegas with a good lesson learned.

"Don't mess with mother nature," one scout said.

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STORY BY: New Jersey reporter Toni Yates

WEB PRODUCED BY: Bill King

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