CONCORD. New Hampshire (AP) -- A Boy Scout leader died of an apparent heart attack while on the U.S. Father's Day while hiking with his troop, which included his two sons, authorities said.
Vernon "Rick" Rippeon was one of four adults leading the 13-member group on the first day of a planned five-day hike in a mountain range, said Lt. Wayne Saunders of the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department. The boys ranged in age from about 11 to 17.
Saunders said a call regarding a medical emergency came in at about 11:45 a.m. Sunday from an area known as the oldest continuously maintained footpath in the United States. He said Rippeon suffered a heart attack about 1? miles (2 kilometers) up the trail. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation was started almost immediately, but efforts to revive Rippeon were not successful, and he died on the trail.
Gunnar Burdt, a scoutmaster, said the nearly 3-mile (5 kilometer) hike was planned by Rippeon, a "high-adventure" outdoors trip in scouting, where "you go do something that's going to push your limits and tests your will," Burdt said.
The group has canoed 100 miles (160 kilometers) in upstate New York and backpacked in the Colorado Rockies.
"He was familiar with the area and the Appalachian Trail," Burdt said. "Our plan was to go hut to hut for four days and we would summit to Mount Washington on our last day."
Rippeon, a Navy veteran and an engineer, "always lived by the Boy Scout oath and law," Burdt said. "It was very important to him. Boy Scouts was in his blood."