Scouting trip accident that injured Johnson Co. troop leader gave Scouts ‘hands-on’ First Aid lesson

OLATHE, Kan. -- Be prepared.

A group of teenagers from Johnson County is putting knowledge to good use, and the motto of the Boy Scouts of America is their mission statement. They say accident that happened during a July 25th scouting trip to a secluded lake put their first aid training to the test.

Boy Scouts are highly-trained in first aid. However, the kids from Olathe-based Troop 487 will tell you  they never imagined they'd actually use it. Seven scouts and two adult leaders were on a backwoods adventure trip to Thomas Lake in northern Minnesota.

Their campsite, while picturesque, was miles away from a main road. Troop guides say leader Kevin Chambers, an experienced scout in his own right, slipped and fell on a slippery rock after a heavy rainfall. The fall on the wet rocks cost him a broken ankle.

"We got to apply what we learned," Anish Srivastava, a scout in Troop 487, said on Friday.

Srivastava and the other teenagers who met with FOX 4 News on Friday say they'd rented a satellite phone to use in case of emergency. However, rainy weather in the area, which was a short distance from the Canadian border, kept local paramedics from arriving.

"I heard him fall," Srivastava said. "(Chambers) said, "It's broke. It's broke.' I didn't understand what that meant until I saw his ankle. I was the first one on there.

Chambers was in agony, and forced to tough it out, with no medical attention available until the morning hours. The Troop's first aid training was a beneficial tool. Photos show the scouts forming a crude stretcher from two cedar trees and a rain tarp, which they used to carry Chambers to his tent. Troop leader Steve Keller, an Eagle Scout, says the teenagers gave Chambers doses of Tylenol from the group's first aid kit. Keller says the boys treated Chambers' broken ankle as if it were a sprain, as they'd learned from scout training.

"They treated him for shock because it was actually raining. When you have a significant injury like that, you can go into shock," Keller told FOX 4 News.

It wasn't until the next morning that help could arrive in the remote area. Aydan Knight was one of the seven scouts who helped make a flag using a piece of fabric and a stick. Video clips provided by Troop 487 show the boys helping a seaplane land on the lake, which eventually carried Chambers to medical care.

"All throughout our scouting career, we've been training in first aid for that. It wasn't really surprising for some of us. We just knew what to do," Knight said.

Most of the scouts on the trip attend either Olathe Northwest High School or Olathe North High School. Keller says the scouts have been nominated for a citizenship medal from the Sons of the American Revolution for potentially saving Chambers' life.

"We all keep our cool when things go on. It was no different this time,"  Srivastava said.

Chambers is still off his feet, with several pins helping his ankle heal. As a group, the scouts say they've been called to be a service to the community, and that's why they're always prepared.

None of the scouts were injured in the accident. In fact, Keller says Troop 487 members are already planning next year's trip to the same lake in Minnesota.