Orem Scout Leader Drowns After Saving Boy Scout
Jul 19, 2018, 8:16 PM | Updated: 9:28 pm
SALEM, Utah – The Boy Scout leader who drowned after pushing a young boy to safety in Salem Pond has been called a hero who lived his life helping others.
Officials with the Salem Police Department identified 22-year-old Wesley Robert Kratzer of Orem as the man who died Wednesday evening after helping a scout who was struggling in the water.
“The leader pushed the boy to another leader to help get him out of the water,” said Chief Brad James.
UPDATE: Boy Scout leader who drowned after helping struggling child at Salem Pond is identified as Wesley Robert Kratzer of Orem, according to Salem Police Chief Brad James. Also, Kratzer was 22 years old, not 25. https://t.co/lNZeHY5UZL @KSLcom @KSL5TV @kslnewsradio
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) July 19, 2018
Low visibility in the murky water hampered rescue efforts. Kratzer was under the water for approximately 50 minutes before divers found his body.
“He could have cramped up. He could have been fatigued, He could have had a medical issue,” James said. “He’s been taken to the medical examiner’s office, and we hope they will be able to give us some of these answers.”
Kratzer was one of three adult leaders who were helping three scouts practice swimming techniques in the pond.
He and his wife just married in February. She was also at the scene and said somebody suddenly asked her if she had seen her husband.
“I thought he went to the restroom or the car or went swimming somewhere else,” said Diana Kratzer. “I never thought that this was going to happen.”
Diana said Wesley died the same way he lived his life—by helping others.
“He’s a hero, not only for saving that kid, but for being a nice person and a great example for all of us,” she said.
Wesley was one of eight children. His father, Tay Kratzer, described him as being mature beyond his years when it came to paying attention to the needs and emotions of those around him.
“He was such a sweet, loving brother,” said Tay Kratzer. “Just the kind of darling son that anybody would want.”
Tay said Wesley never hesitated to show his family how much he loved them.
“We come here to earth, really, to learn love,” Tay went on to say. “Wesley learned that.”
Officials with the Boy Scouts of America acknowledged the incident and thanked the emergency responders and others who volunteered during the search efforts.
“This is an extremely difficult time for our Scouting family,” David Pack, CEO of the Boy Scouts’ Utah National Parks Council, said in a statement. “We are sad to confirm the death of one of our adult volunteers following a drowning incident. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family, and we will support them in any way that we can.”