Four Scout leaders killed in electrical accident at Jamboree
BOWLING GREEN, Va. – Four adult Boy Scout leaders from Alaska were killed Monday afternoon in an electrical accident during the opening day of the organization’s 2005 Jamboree.Jamboree spokesman Gregg Shields said the accident happened between 4:30 and 5 p.m. while the leaders were setting up camp.One other leader from Alaska and a contract worker were hospitalized in stable condition. All the youths with the Alaska group were fine, said Bill Haines, chief executive officer of the Western Alaska Council.Those killed were longtime leaders with Anchorage’s Troop 711, which along with another troop had brought 80 Scouts between the ages 13-15 to the event, Haines said. Three other Scout leaders had come with the group.Shields did not have additional details about the accident, including the victims’ names.Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner issued a statement Monday night seeking to reassure parents of those attending the Jamboree.”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,” Warner said.Tens of thousands of Boy Scouts, leaders and volunteers from around the world are attending the 2005 National Scout Jamboree. The event opened Monday at the Army’s Fort A.P. Hill, a 76,000-acre Army training base about an hour south of the nation’s capital.The Jamboree runs through Aug. 3 with President Bush scheduled to speak Wednesday evening. Scouts ages 12-18 are to spend 10 days camping in tents and doing activities that include archery, fishing and a GPS-based scavenger hunt.The Boy Scouts of America have held the event since 1937 with the next gathering set for 2010, the Scouts’ 100th anniversary. It may not be held at Fort A.P. Hill, which has hosted the event since 1981.A federal judge recently ruled that the Pentagon can no longer financially support the event. If the ruling stands, the Boy Scouts would have to find another location for their next gathering.A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois contends that the Defense Department’s sponsorship violates the First Amendment because the Scouts require members to swear an oath of duty to God.