Boy Scout Gets Lost in Santa Rita Mountains; Fairly Useless Scout Master Didn't Really Know Where He Was Either

Sending teenage boy scouts out overnight to fend for themselves in the middle of the Santa Rita Mountains -- a popular spot for human and drug smuggling -- might not be the brightest idea.

It apparently sounded like a good plan to the troop masters of the 14-year-old Boy Scout who called 9-1-1 Wednesday night after getting lost during his quest to earn a merit badge.

U.S. Border Patrol helicopters and Pima County Sheriff's deputies descended on the mountains Wednesday after receiving the call at 9:39 p.m. from the scared, young teen, Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman Tom Peine tells New Times.

The merit badge mission requires scouts to camp out on their own in the wilderness for a night, and the eight boy scouts, ages 12-16, were sent out to separate areas surrounding their camp to complete the survival challenge.

The scout master had showed the boys the trails leading from each of the designated areas back to the main camp. He told the scouts to follow the trail back if they sensed they were in danger or wanted to end their pursuit of the survival badge.

One of the troop leaders actually warned the scouts that "there might be some illegal immigrants trying to pass through," the boy would later tell the 9-1-1 operator.

The 14-year-old boy -- who really didn't sound like he was ready for this survival test, based on his 9-1-1 call -- attempted to end his bid for the merit badge and head back to camp after becoming bothered by too many bugs crawling on him.

Unfortunately, he got lost while trying to find his way back. The scouts were not supposed to bring along their phones for the test, but the boy did, and hit up 9-1-1 for help.

At the camp, an officer asked one of the scout leaders if he could identify a trail for him. The scout leader responded by saying he couldn't because it was too dark out, Peine says.

Well, good thing the trail was designated as a main recourse for the boys to follow in case an emergency arose at night.

The boy stayed on the phone with the operator for a little more than 45 minutes before he was located by a search team, unharmed and uninjured.

KVOA-TV has full audio of the 911 Call

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Jason Lewis
Contact: Jason Lewis