Boy Scout dies at Tulare County camp


Boy Scouts of America confirms 16-year-old Sam Lawrence died of a heart attack while at Camp Whitsett. The scout executive said Lawrence apparently had a heart condition that no one knew about.

Every year in the southeastern pocket of Tulare County, thousands of Boy Scouts travel from their homes in Western Los Angeles County to Camp Whitsett in Tulare County.

While the boys were in the midst of their everyday physical activities, tragedy struck a 16-year-old Boy Scout named Sam Lawrence.

Jim Rushton said, "They were participating in a triathlon. They were doing some swimming some biking and some running and he was one of the 3 scouts participating in that and apparently he just fell forward unexpectedly."

Scout leaders, which included Lawrence's father, rushed to try and save him by performing CPR and using a defibrillator. Though they got a pulse back they weren't able to save him. He died at a hospital in Fresno.

Jim Rushton said, "We had the right equipment, the right people, and we had the right people trained with the right equipment. So we did everything we could. It's unfortunate that it wasn't enough."

Scout Executive Jim Rushton said family members later learned the 16-year-old aspiring Eagle Scout had an enlarged heart -- a pre-existing condition not even his parents knew about. Lawrence had passed a doctor's physical to attend the camp.

At Camp Whitsett many are saddened by the loss of one of their own.

"Really well-liked by both the scouting community, and strong faith he has with the church and he's going to be missed by everybody," Jim Rushton said of Lawrence.

This is the first incident Boy Scout officials know of where a Boy Scout has died at Camp Whitsett. Roughly 10,000 kids are expected to camp at Whitsett this summer.

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