Boy Scout troop safe after getting lost Tonto National Forest - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Boy Scout troop safe after getting lost in Tonto National Forest

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Six boy scouts, one of whom is the grandson of former Senate President Russell Pearce, were reunited with their families Sunday night after getting lost in the Tonto National Forest.

The group was supposed to return Saturday afternoon.

One mother says the scouts, ages 12 to 13-years-old, were working on their hiking merit badge when they got lost.

The troop was rescued from the Four Peaks area of the forest. They didn't have extra food and water with them.

Scouts Jaxon and Rigdon Merrill seemed thrilled to be back with their mother and holding Snickers bars.

"Pretty worried, my wife was very worried," said Aaron Jones, father of a missing scout.

The two were among six Boy Scouts and two adult scout leaders who were lost in the Tonto National Forest.

"How did they get to that point when they couldn't make it back?" said Holli Pearce, mother of a missing scout.
The troop left Friday evening to camp and hike 10 miles. They were supposed to return Saturday at 4 p.m.

"They were bringing dinner for Friday, then we were to pack them breakfast and lunch for Saturday," said Pearce.

"So we expected them back in the afternoon, 6 or 7 p.m. is when everyone got worried and called the sheriff's office," said Jones.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's helicopter pilot found the group around 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning.

MCSO says the pilot got a thumbs up from the troop when he asked through a PA system if they were okay.

He says the troop waved him away when asked if they needed assistance, so he left.

"We're calm knowing that we know from the sheriff they're safe, that the kids did give them the thumbs up, that they're safe and okay," said Kasandra Merrill, mother of two missing scouts.

But six hours later, with still no sign of the group, worried parents starting hiking the trail to the boys and the helicopter went up again.

This time, the pilot took the group back to the trailhead where their families were waiting.

The boys had just run out of water.

"The sheriff says he thought it looked like they may have gotten off the trail onto a different trail," said Jones.

Needless to say, there hasn't been word on if the scouts ended up getting those hiking merit badges or if they'll be going on another hike.

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