He said that, despite concern from the award's trustees about its future, the tragedy had actually boosted interest from the young.
"Suddenly the award, which was new...(its) reputation among young people was, 'Wow, this is serious. You could die doing this'.
"And the sense of adventure, the sense of excitement, that it gave you that sort of risk element - that's going back many years - but young people are like that, still that sense of adventure, the sense that it (death) is possible.
"Obviously we don't want that to happen. Certainly that's not the intention: we give them the skills to go out there and do it safely and constructively. It was just that psychology, about what makes young people tick," he said.
The scheme was set up in 1956 and offers bronze, silver and gold awards to young people who take on a series of increasingly challenging tasks.
In 2006, 17-year-old Aaron Goss, from Rushden, Northamptonshire, drowned while swimming in a rainforest area of Ecuador during a Duke of Edinburgh awards expedition.
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