REVELSTOKE, B.C. -- An autopsy Monday determined four teenaged American Boy Scouts and two Scout leaders from Washington state were drowned by high waves whipped by a storm after their canoes overturned on Lake McNaughton, coroner Sam Olynyk said Monday.
Olynyk said he wold need 'a month or longer' to complete a coroner's inquiry into the deaths of the six, who were experienced swimmers and canoeists and were wearing life preservers at the time of the accident.
The bodies, which were sent to Washington state Monday after the tests, were found face up in the chilly waters of the glacier-fed lake. Olynyk said this helped him conclude they were drowned by high waves in a storm.
RCMP officers and Olynyk said they had discounted foul play and expect the high winds and rough waters also caused the canoes to capsize.
The six victims were part of a group of 29 scouts and adults on an expedition through mountain lakes in southeastern British Columbia.
The scouts left the southeast end of Lake McNaughton one week ago and planned to camp along the lakeside at night before arriving Friday at Mica Creek, a town on the west side of the lake 100 kilometers away.
When the first of the five patrols arrived safely Friday, they reported finding a canoe overturned and empty.
The RCMP launched an air search and found another canoe and then six bodies still wearing life jackets. The six were pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
RCMP identified the dead as leaders David Allen Fair, 42, of Elk and Rickey Dale Taylor, 29, of Newport; and boy scouts Gary Merrit, 14, Derek Maxfield, 14, and Gregory Whittle, 13, all of Cattoroy, and Nathan Peterson, 13, of Elk.
The trip was sponsored by a Washington branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.