Tragedy occurred at Lake O’ The Pines in East Texas on Saturday, August 5, 2017. Two Hallisville, Texas, Boy Scouts died of electrocution in a boating accident. A third scout was injured that day, and two days later he succumbed to his injuries.
According to Quint Balkcom, Texas Game Warden, the catamaran sailboat the three boys were in hit a power line, electrocuting them. Two of the scouts were pronounced dead at the scene. The third was life-flighted to a hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana.
An investigation into how the catamaran hit a transmission power line is being conducted by Texas Parks and Wildlife.
The Boy Scouts had been working toward a merit badge involving motor boats when the deadly accident occurred. The youngest Boy Scouts were tending the campsite. Two Eagle Scouts whose names were withheld, ages 18 and 16, were mentoring 11-year-old Thomas Larry on the catamaran when their vessel caught fire. The Scouts onshore began shouting for help.
A troop leader quickly got onto a kayak and paddled to the catamaran. The three scouts had all been electrocuted when their 30-foot mast glided underneath a live power line that was strung low enough to catch it. The older boys were in the water. Thomas, who was critically injured, was pulled onto a boat, taken to the marina, and then airlifted to the nearby hospital.
The boys of the troop who saw the gruesome scene were traumatized, sources say. One of the boys who witnessed the accident was Thomas’ older brother.
The big question is why the power line was hanging so low or hanging over the water at all. If anyone’s negligence led to the dangerous situation, it’s possible they could be held liable for the heartbreaking loss of life.