Rain deluged both Cimarron and North Ponil Canyons late Friday night and early Saturday mornings flooding portions of Philmont Scout Ranch and sadly, contributing to the death of one of its campers.
Some estimates of as much as four inches sent boulders as big as pickups from the canyon walls into the Cimarron River and onto the roadway in Cimarron Canyon.
Hiway 64 thru Cimarron Canyon was closed at about 12:30 pm on Saturday, June 27 and will remain closed at least thru …1:00 pm on Sunday, June 28.
In some places in Cimarron Canyon the river was running as much as eight feet above normal. One culvert was clogged with debris and spilled onto the roadway bringing as much as three feet of silt.
NM State Police, Colfax County Sheriff’s office, NMDOT, Colfax County District 8, 9 and 11 fire depts. with volunteers from Eagle Nest, Cimarron and Philmont plus others have responded, with heavy equipment on the scene.
Travelers are urged to use NM 434 from Mora to Angel Fire until Hiway 64 can be safely reopened.
Philmont Scout Ranch issued this statement:
“This is a very difficult time for our entire Scouting family. During the early morning hours of Saturday, June 27, Philmont Scout Ranch was hit with significant rainfall that resulted in elevating stream levels and some flooding in areas across the property. The health and safety of our youth members is our top priority and our staff immediately began making contact with all crews and participants throughout the backcountry to offer assistance and assure the safety of all participants.
During that process, our staff were unable to account for one youth participant, who we have since confirmed passed away. We have notified the family and are supporting them in any way we can. We are also mindful of the Scouts and adult volunteer leaders present on the trek, and we are also working to support those affected by this tragic incident. All other participants have been accounted for and there are no additional injuries.
Our thoughts and prayers are with all those the family and we are supporting them in any way that we can.”
New Mexico State Police Update
Flash Flood at the Philmont Scout Ranch
Colfax County– On Saturday, June 27, 2015 at approximately 4:30 a.m. a flash flood occurred in North Ponil Canyon which is located on the Philmont Scout Ranch, fifteen miles northeast of the main Philmont Scout Ranch Training Center. At the time this occurred there were twelve Scout participants in the canyon on a twelve day trek across the ranch. The twelve participants consisted of, eight Boy Scouts, (ranging in age from approximately 14 to 17), one adult Philmont Scout Ranger (Guide/Instructor), and three adult Crew Leaders. As the flood water swept through the canyon, it over ran the Scouts camp site resulting in four Boy Scouts being swept away.
Philmont Staff members immediately responded and located three of the four Boy Scouts, which were swept away by the water, down the canyon. At approximately 9:35 a.m. the New Mexico State Police was contacted and a Search and Rescue mission was initiated, at approximately 11:00 a.m. the missing Boy Scout was located, deceased, approximately 3/4 of a mile to 1 mile from where the water swept him away.
Names of those involved are being withheld at this time pending notification