Scout Victims' Sons Return Home

A day following the deaths of four Boy Scout leaders at the National Jamboree, a group of Boy Scouts walks past a series of scout flags being flown at half-staff at Fort A.P. Hill in Bowling Green, Va.
AP
The National Boy Scout Jamboree closed to visitors for a day of grieving and reviewing safety procedures Tuesday following the deaths of four adult scout leaders in an electrical accident. Three sons of the victims returned home to Alaska, officials said.

"Our hearts go out to the families of these dedicated Scout leaders who gave so much to their sons, their troops and their communities," Boy Scout spokesman Gregg Shields told reporters, his voice choked with emotion.

The accident happened Monday when the Scout leaders were setting up a dining tent. Officials said the gathering, which attracts tens of thousands of Scouts, would go on as planned. A memorial service was planned at Wednesday's opening ceremony.

One scout, Marty Williamson, 13, of Sparta, Wis., said Tuesday that he and his fellow scouts felt safe and "everyone is taking it pretty well."

Shields said the accident was under investigation and he could not provide additional details. Asked if a power line touched a tent pole, he said: "That's what we're investigating."

Rappahannock Electric Cooperative sent workers to the jamboree site to make sure it was safe, spokesman Brian Wolfe said. He said he was unaware of any problems with power lines before the deaths.

The victims were identified as Michael J. Shibe, 49, Mike Lacroix, 42, and Ronald H. Bitzer, 58, all of Anchorage, Alaska; and Scott Edward Powell, 57, of Perrysville, Ohio. Shibe had two sons at the Jamboree and Lacroix had one.

Three other adults were injured. One was listed Tuesday in critical condition at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, one was in stable condition and another was discharged.

The youths with the Alaska troops (80 Scouts ages 13 to 15) were moved to an Army barracks where a chaplain and grief counselors were available.

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski issued a statement offering his condolences to the victims' family members and troop members.

"These individuals were killed while serving Alaska's young people — and I admire and thank them for that service," he said.

Powell had lived in Alaska for 30 years and ran a Scout camp in Anchorage, but retired to Ohio about 18 months ago, said his sister, Anne Rentfrow, 49, of Mansfield, Ohio.