Boy Scout Group, Including 16 Kids, Rescued After Being Stranded for 3 Days in New Mexico Forest

A week-long camping trip turned frightening when "heavy rains and rising rivers" surrounded the scouts' campsite near Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument, according to police

More than two dozen people — including 16 children — were rescued in New Mexico earlier this month after inclement weather left a Boy Scout troop stuck in the wilderness for three days.

New Mexico Search and Rescue launched its mission to save the troop back on Oct. 8, according to a statement from the New Mexico State Police (NMSP).

The 25 individuals, including nine adults, found themselves stranded near the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument "due to heavy rains and rising rivers surrounding their campsite," the NMSP said.

An off-duty Park Service employee stumbled upon the El Paso-based troop and called authorities after members of the group opted not to do so themselves, according to Silver City Daily Press.

All 25 members of the group were rescued uninjured via helicopter and "reunited with their families" at the Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument Visitor Center, the NMSP said.

The Texas scouts had been on a week-long camping trip in the Gila National Forest when they found themselves trapped by floodwaters, according to the Daily Press.

Parents of the scouts became concerned after the troop did not return to their campsite Friday night, New Mexico State Police Search and Rescue volunteer and Incident Commander Laurie Wlosinski told the outlet.

A search-and-rescue mission was launched the next day, though the scoutmaster initially felt the group could "handle it" on their own, Wlosinski added.

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Boy Scout Group Rescued
New Mexico State Police/Facebook

A New Mexico National Guard helicopter pinpointed the Scouts' location a short time later, but the mission was postponed overnight due to continued inclement weather, according to FOX affiliate KFOX-TV.

It took 17 hours to complete the difficult search-and-rescue mission, Rescue Hoist Operator Kurtus Tenorio said, according to CBS affiliate KRQE.

The scouts were especially happy to see help arrive. "Kids were jumping up and down; high fives hugs for everyone," Tenorio told the outlet. "You know, they were extremely excited that we had found them, and we're starting to pull them."

Members of the stranded group were found on both sides of the Gila River, according to the Daily Press report. The troop allegedly attempted to cross the rushing waters using a human chain, but were unsuccessful.

"They had a couple of kids starting to float off, and that scared them — rightfully so," Wlosinski said. "So they decided they were not going to try to cross anymore, and they'll have several on one side and several on the other."

In total, 27 people were rescued, according to the Daily Press.

Two female hikers, who "joined up" with the Boy Scout group, were also helped to safety, Wlosinski said.

The adult women "were in the same situation" as the Boy Scout troop and "got trapped by high water," according to Wlosinski.

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