Two Eagle Scouts were dead, an 11-year-old Scout was clinging to life and a small East Texas town was in shock and mourning Monday after a Catamaran the boys were sailing apparently hit a power line.
Local media identified the victims as Will Brannon, 17, Heath Faucheux, 16, and Thomas Larry, 11. More than 300 people turned out at a candlelight vigil Sunday night in Hallsville, a town of about 4,000 people 130 miles east of Dallas, to honor the youths, the Longview News-Journal reported.
"You're talking about great young men, men of integrity," Hallsville Band Director Sherri Morgan told the crowd. All three boys were band members. "We're heartbroken, we're devastated. ... All is not lost, they leave a legacy. So they are going to live on forever."
Kelly Camp Weatherford, a friend of the Larry family, set up a gofundme page to help cover expenses for Thomas that reached its $10,000 goal in 20 hours.
"Thomas is at LSU (medical center) in Shreveport on life support," she wrote on the page. "They did a partial test for brain functions but they were negative. ... They are not very optimistic but there is a chance."
Preliminary investigations indicate the Scouts were electrocuted when their Hobiecat Catamaran collided with an overhead transmission line Saturday in Lake O' The Pines near Avinger, Texas Parks and Wildlife said in a statement.
Game wardens arrived at the scene to find the Catamaran on fire with the sails up about 300 yards north of the power lines, the statement said.
"Absolute chaos," Capt. Quint Balkcom of Texas Parks and Wildlife told KLTV in Tyler, Texas. "This is a terrible event, it absolutely is."
Wardens discovered the older teen onboard and another in the water a short distance away. Both victims "suffered severe bodily injuries" and were dead at the scene, the statement said.
The 11-year-old victim was found unresponsive in a boat nearby, with good Samaritans administering CPR. He was airlifted about 70 miles to LSU Medical Center-Shreveport in Louisiana.
All three were wearing personal flotation devices at the time of the accident, the agency said.
Balkcom said the boat was impounded so investigators can "a full picture of what happened in this horrendous event."
"A terrible tragedy," Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted. "Our thoughts & prayers go out to the Boy Scouts & their families.
Dewayne Stephens, CEO of the Scouts' East Texas Area Council, issued a statement thanking emergency teams for their response.
"This is an extremely difficult time for our Scouting family," Stephens said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families. We will support them in any way that we can."