Boy Scout troop rescues pilot whose plane crashed into river

plane-crash-south-carolina-2Scouts learn to be prepared for anything, but nobody in Troop 597 could’ve expected this.

The boys from Dacula, Ga. (40 miles northeast of Atlanta), were enjoying their annual Christmas paddling trip on the Congaree River near Columbia, S.C., when a plane passed them overhead. It was flying really low.

The boys and their leaders continued paddling and came upon the Mooney M20 propeller plane in the water. At first it looked like a remote-controlled sailboat, but as they got closer they realized what they were seeing. Then they spotted the pilot standing on the shore calling for help.

Scout Chris Ivory told WAGA-TV (Fox 5 out of Atlanta) that the pilot was cold and shivering. Saturday’s high in Columbia was 50 degrees, but the man was soaked and at risk for hypothermia.

“We knew that if he stayed that cold that he wouldn’t be in good condition,” Chris said.

So they paddled to him, and the boys lit a fire on the riverbank and wrapped the pilot in blankets. Meanwhile, Scoutmaster David Moore called 911 and provided the dispatcher with their exact GPS coordinates.

“The Scout Slogan is ‘Do a Good Turn Daily,’ and the boys certainly did that,” Moore told WAGA-TV. “They were able to put all the things that we train them for … into action.”

When the ambulance arrived, it was on the wrong side of the river. So the Scouts were called upon again. They helped the man into a canoe and paddled him across to the emergency workers.

This sentence from a WTVD-TV story pretty much says it all:

“The Scouts said they never know when their training will come in handy, and this was a perfect example of that.”

Nice job, Scouts. You stepped up when needed most, and your Scout training probably saved this man’s life.


Hat tip: Thanks to Greg Bizzell, a committee chairman in North Carolina, for spotting this story.

About Bryan Wendell 2904 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.