Boy Scout dies during outing in Olympic National Forest

LILLIWAUP, Wash. -- An outing for a Silverdale Boy Scout troop turned tragic Saturday morning when a 12-year-old boy died while playing in the Olympic National Forest.

"The boys were actually trying to roll the tree into the lake," explained Deputy Joe Nole with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. "It hooked on one of the boy's jackets and then rolled over him."

The Scouts were on a boulder field, so the ground was unforgiving as the log rolled over the victim, who sustained a massive head injury.

Deputies say the accident happened about 9 a.m. Saturday at Lena Lake, a remote but popular camping area off Highway 101 near the small community of Eldon.

The boy's father was among the four adults and ten scouts on the trip.

It took search and rescue teams about three hours to reach the scene by foot. A helicopter airlift was considered, but bad weather eliminated that option. Deputies say arriving earlier would not have made a difference in this case.

About three dozen search and rescue personnel, including firefighters and EMTs, responded to the accident from Mason and Jefferson Counties. Fire District 17 was the first agency on the scene.

Troop leaders activated an emergency locator beacon that was picked up by an emergency monitoring center in Texas, which called Washington State Emergency Management officials, who contacted the sheriff's office.

One adult in the party also hiked about three-miles from the lake to a parking lot. He then drove eight miles for a cell phone signal to call 911.

"Unless they made the boys sit in camp and not let them go do anything. You know, accidents happen," Deputy Nole said in response to whether there is anything to learn from this accident.

He considered the scouts and their leaders experienced and well-prepared for a wilderness trip in the Lena Lake area.

"It's a real tragedy," he said. "I have kids, I enjoy the outdoors. It's just a very sad thing."