ONTARIO, Canada - A boy and a woman from North Texas in a Boy Scouts camping trip near the U.S.-Canadian border were killed after severe storms swept through the area Thursday morning.
Officials said 39-year-old Nickie Rorth Lac, from Carrolton and 13-year-old Christian James Sanchez, from Lewisville, died while camping near Basswood Lake in Ontario, Canada when the storms hit. Two other campers from North Texas were also injured.
Strong storms that moved through parts of the area early Thursday knocked down trees and power lines. Strong winds blew unexpectedly through Charles L Sommers Canoe Base and knocked down trees that killed the two campers and injured the two others, the Boys Scouts of America said. Emergency crews got the call about the accident around 4:20 a.m.
The two injured campers were evacuated from the wilderness area in the Superior National Forest by air, according to the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office. The two young campers were taken to a hospital by Canadian emergency crews, but their injuries are not life-threatening, the Scouts said. Scout leaders said one of the boys is still in the hospital with his family at his bedside.
Nine people, including three adults and six boys, were part of the program. Sheriff's officials and other emergency responders were working on evacuating the rest of the group from the wilderness area, Van Dreese said.
Neighbors and friends said Lac was a dedicated mother, former Marine and a dedicated assistant Scout master. She leaves behind four kids and a husband.
Kirk French, a fellow volunteer with the Boy Scouts, met Lac about 4 years ago and says she was always the first to volunteer for the group.
“[She was] someone who was very alive, who took every moment of life and just lived it to its fullest. More people should do it that way,” French said.
Sanchez’ parents say he's been involved in scouting since first grade and went on camping trips just about every year.
“He loved being outdoors. He loved doing all the stuff boys do. It was a really good time for him and he loved going on the trips,” Dave Moran, a family friend, said. “We try to live each day to the fullest because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.”
Friends and family gathered at St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Plano Thursday night to hold a vigil for the victims.
"This is a very difficult time for our Scouting family," the Scouts said in a statement. "The safety and well-being of our participants is our top priority. Immediately following the radio distress call, we contacted the local authorities for support, and began making contact with all crews on-site to offer assistance and assure the safety of all involved."
Lac and Sanchez were part of the Circle Ten Council that oversees 23 chapters of Boy Scouts in North Texas.
The Scouts said they will offer grief counseling to their members and volunteers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.