- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 26, 2005

BOWLING GREEN, Va. — Four adult Boy Scout leaders were killed yesterday afternoon in an electrical accident during the opening of the organization’s 2005 Jamboree, the Boy Scouts of America said.

The accident occurred between 4:30 and 5 p.m. while the leaders were setting up camp, spokesman Gregg Shields said.

Mr. Shields said no youths were seriously injured. He did not say how many sustained minor injuries.

“We’re looking into it right now,” Mr. Shields said. “We have an investigation under way.”

One other leader and a contract worker also were injured but remain in stable condition at a hospital, Mr. Shields said.

The accident happened a day after Boy Scouts volunteer Albert Puff, 57, of Stella, N.C., was taken to a hospital, where he died of an apparent heart attack, Jamboree spokeswoman Renee Fairrer said.

Those killed and injured were from Anchorage, Alaska, said Bill Haines, Scout executive and chief executive officer of the Western Alaska Council, which oversees about 10,600 Boy Scouts and is the largest of three councils in Alaska.

Mr. Haines said the longtime Scouts were leaders with Troop 711, which together with Troop 712 brought 80 Scouts, ages 13 to 15, and eight leaders to the Jamboree.

All the children with the Alaska group are fine, Mr. Haines said. The Scouts were relocated to another area, and chaplains and grief counselors were made available.

“The Jamboree will go on,” Miss Fairrer said.

More than 40,000 Boy Scouts, leaders and volunteers from around the world are attending the 2005 National Scout Jamboree, being held the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill.

The Jamboree opened yesterday on the 76,000-acre Army training base. It runs through Aug. 3 with President Bush scheduled to speak tomorrow evening.

Organizers said this year’s event is the largest single-site Jamboree since 1964. Scouts ages 12 to 18 are to spend 10 days camping in tents and participating in activities that include archery, fishing and geocaching, a Global Positioning System-based scavenger hunt. Scouts are attending from all over the United States and 20 other countries.

“I want to reassure the parents of the young men attending the Jamboree that a remarkable amount of effort and resources have been brought to bear by the Boy Scouts and their hosts, the Department of Defense, in the planning and safety considerations involved in creating, in effect, a city of 43,000 inhabitants for a 10-day period,” Virginia Gov. Mark Warner said last night.

In 1997, a 16-year-old Boy Scout was killed at a Jamboree when an Army Humvee he was not supposed to be driving overturned. Three passengers were hurt.

The Boy Scouts have held the event since 1937 with the next gathering set for 2010, the Scouts’ 100th anniversary.

Associated Press reporter Jeannette J. Lee in the Anchorage bureau contributed to this report.


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