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When Dad Dies on Trail, Boy Scout Leads Kids to Safety

'I know he would've wanted me to lead'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2016 10:35 AM CST

(Newser) – When his father suddenly died while leading 34 Boy Scouts and chaperones on a 19-mile hike in the Appalachian Mountains in New Hampshire, 16-year-old David Norton didn't panic. Instead, he led just as his father had done. David, who hails from Acton, Mass., was in charge of a group of intermediate-level Scouts heading down the mountain on Sunday when he heard over the radio that his father had collapsed further back on the trail, reports the Boston Globe. James Norton was telling the kids "to be careful where they walked because it was slippery," says his mother. Then "there was silence and a thud." Those with the elder Norton radioed news of a heart attack to authorities, and a helicopter was dispatched.

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David, meanwhile, heard the radio chatter and led his charges down the mountain through tears until he found a cellphone signal and called home. "I know he would've wanted me to lead the rest of the Scouts in the medium group down and make sure they got there OK," says David, who later learned his father had died of a heart attack after almost two hours of CPR, per Massachusetts Live. "He made sure the kids didn't get hurt," David's grandmother tells the New York Daily News. Says David of his father: "He lived for the Scout oath and law. Everything he did was an embodiment of those two things." (This Boy Scout saved his father's life.)

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