Survival School Settles Lawsuit with Family of Dead Hiker

Survival School Settles Lawsuit with Family of Dead Hiker

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A wilderness-survival school said Monday it settled a lawsuit with the parents of a New Jersey man who died of dehydration last year during a grueling course in southern Utah.

Boulder Outdoor Survival School said it was creating an annual scholarship in the name of Dave Buschow for people who want to attend the same 28-day course that took his life in 2006.

Some money also is being paid to resolve the case, but "it's confidential," said Andrew Wright, attorney for the school, known as BOSS.

Buschow, 29, of River Vale, N.J., collapsed and died on the second day of the expedition in the searing heat of the Utah desert in July 2006.

The adventure is designed to test physical and mental toughness. Campers find their own food and water and carry few essentials.

In May, The Associated Press detailed how Buschow was desperate and delusional long before he collapsed, less than 100 yards from a pool of water. Guides carried emergency water but it was never offered to him.

Buschow's parents, Patricia Herbert of River Vale, N.J., and Brad Buschow of Tafton, Pa., sued BOSS and four employees in federal court in Salt Lake City, claiming negligence in their son's death.

The Colorado-based school had blamed Buschow, saying the former Air Force airman did not read course materials, may have withheld health information and may have eaten too heavily before arriving from New Jersey.

But all that has been swept aside by the settlement. In a statement, BOSS said all participants in the 28-day course now are allowed to carry water. Guides also carry satellite phones and GPS devices for emergencies.

"The school made changes to its operations that are expected to reduce the chances of this kind of tragedy happening again," BOSS said.

Campers are advised to arrive at least three days in advance to get acclimated to hot weather and elevations of 7,000 feet in Utah's Garfield County.

In a statement, Herbert expressed "appreciation for the positive manner in which our claims were resolved."

The settlement was reached with the help of a mediator, Joe Epstein, of Denver. BOSS president Josh Bernstein said he hoped Buschow's family "can find some measure of closure as we all move forward."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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