Another Scout Leader, Scout Killed by Lightning

A horrible week for Scouting got worse last night as a Scout leader and a 13-year-old Scout were killed from by lightning while on a hike.

Lightning Strike Turns Scout Hike Tragic (AP)

What was supposed to be a challenging 70-mile hike culminating in a midnight climb up Mt. Whitney to watch the sunrise turned to horror with a simple summer storm. When a group of Boy Scouts from St. Helena Troop 7001 took shelter from the rain, lightning struck, killing the troop leader and a teenage scout.

Ryan Collins, 13, died Friday night at University Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Mary Lisa Russell said. The boy’s grandfather, Bill Collins, said Ryan was kept on a ventilator for a time so that his organs could be donated. Collins said Ryan had been a scout for three or four years and loved the outdoors: “He was a fabulous boy,” he said. “He was doing what he loved to do.” “We lost our son,” said Ryan’s mother, Sue Collins.

The troop’s assistant scoutmaster, Steven McCullagh, 29, was killed instantly when the bolt struck Thursday, the Tulare County coroner’s office said.

One injured troop member was under observation at the hospital and six others were treated and released from Kaweah Delta Hospital in Visalia, authorities said.

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The tragedy comes just days after four men were electrocuted while putting up a tent at the National Scout Jamboree in Virginia. Dozens of Scouts were sickened by the stifling heat two days later at the event.

Tragic.

FILED UNDER: General
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.