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Utah Scout killed in boating accident at Lake Powell

Published: Friday, July 29 2011 4:58 p.m. MDT

PAGE, Ariz. — A 14-year-old Hurricane Boy Scout is dead following a boating accident on Lake Powell Thursday around 9:30 p.m.

Matt Parker was riding in a boat with three other Boy Scouts and two leaders, as they returned to their camp following dinner on Antelope Island, when the boat struck a rock outcropping, National Park spokesman Max King said.

Parker was ejected from the boat and killed. Two other Scouts were also injured. One was flown by medical helicopter to a hospital with a cracked wrist and a broken toe. He also required stitches, said Robert Hall, the bishop of the group’s LDS Hurricane 8th Ward.

The other boy had severe bruising on his back and was transported by ambulance to the hospital in Page, King said.

“This is just an incredibly tragic accident that is just a shock to everyone … to the family, to the entire ward,” Hall said.

The group was heading to the Wahweap Marina when the accident happened "well after dark" — which because Arizona does not have Daylight Saving Time, comes around 7 to 7:30 p.m., King said. Wahweap Marina and most of Antelope Island are within Arizona.

“Operating the boat after dark is a very dangerous situation. It requires a pretty good knowledge of the lake. We do not recommend at all that people operate their vessels after dark,” King said.

He added that even riding a park service boat fully equipped with radar, night vision, spotlights and GPS gear "is a pretty freaky experience."

The boat hit an outcropping of rock that extends out from the rim of Glen Canyon into the lake, King said.

Matt was a youth leader among the group of boys, his bishop said. “There was a young man who could really lead.”

Matt took responsibility seriously; he was very involved, very bright and intelligent, Bishop Hall added. “There was really a good spirit about that young man.”

The young Scout would have turned 15 on Aug. 6, and was to begin ninth grade at Hurricane Middle School. He has two younger sisters.

Bishop Hall said that the Parkers are “a family of great faith and to lose their child, their oldest son like this, is extremely devastating.”

The victim is the third Utah Boy Scout to die while on an outing this summer. David Rayborn, of South Salt Lake, was struck by lightning while camping at Scofield Reservoir. The other, a Las Vegas boy, drowned during a scuba diving activity at the Bear Lake Aquatics Base.

Contributing: Ladd Brubaker

E-mail: pnelson@desnews.com

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