A Sacramento Boy Scout died Saturday after being swept away by a flash flood at a popular Scout ranch in a rural stretch of New Mexico.
The victim was identified Monday as Alden Brock, 13, of Sacramento, according to the New Mexico State Police.
He was on a trek across the Philmont Scout Ranch, a national scouting destination near Cimarron in northeast New Mexico. Around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, a flash flood swept through North Ponil Canyon, 15 miles northeast of the main Philmont Scout Ranch training center.
Alden’s family posted a note Monday outside their home in the Rosemont area of Sacramento: “The family is devastated regarding the tragedy that occurred at Philmont Ranch. We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”
A total of 12 Scouting participants were in the canyon on a 12-day hike across the ranch, according to a statement from New Mexico State Police. The group included eight Boy Scouts ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old, a Philmont Scout Ranger performing guide duties and instruction and three adult crew leaders.
The floodwater swept through the canyon, inundating the scouts’ campsite, carrying four Scouts off in a wall of water. Philmont staff members quickly responded, according to New Mexico State Police.
Three of the four boys were found alive. At about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, the State Police were contacted and a search mission began to rescue Alden, who remained missing.
At about 11 a.m., Alden was found dead. His body was located about a mile from where the water swept him away.
All 12 participants on Alden’s hike were from the same troop, said Chuck Brasfeild, Scout executive for the Sacramento-based Golden Empire Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Brasfeild did not provide the troop number, but Alden’s achievements and activities were noted in several past newsletters for Rosemont-based Troop 380.
The troop’s Scoutmaster, Dave Ishikawa, declined to comment Monday.
Brasfeild said the council sends more than 100 members to Philmont Ranch annually. All other participants have been accounted for and there are no other injuries.
The 214-square-mile ranch hosts around 20,000 Scouts every year, according to ranch officials. The flash flood occurred after a large rainstorm that elevated stream levels.
“This is a very difficult time for our entire Scouting family,” Philmont Scout Ranch noted in a press release. “At Philmont, we strive to provide a safe and inspiring setting for Scouts to experience the natural environment of northern New Mexico and seek to protect both Scouts and wildlife.”
Steve Madsen, a friend and neighbor of the Brock family, said a steady stream of people had been coming in and out of their house on Monday. He said Roger and Cindy Brock have asked for privacy as they absorb the death of their son. “This has got to come as a huge blow and I hope they recover eventually,” he said.
“Alden was very independent,” Madsen said. “Roger wanted his son to get out. It was one of the reasons he was in Scouts. It was to broaden his perspective and horizon.”