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.

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.”

Police responded to Salem Pond around 7 p.m. Wednesday. They found the body of Boy Scout leader Wesley Kratzer about 50 minutes after he went missing.

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 and Diana Kratzer were married in February 2018. (Photo courtesy of Kratzer family.)

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 Kratzer describes his son, Wesley, as a caring brother and attentive husband.

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.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

A trip to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines quickly became personnel for...

Dan Rascon

Members of Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square pay tribute to fallen US soldiers in the Philippines

Members of the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square visited the largest American cemetery outside of the United States, making it a tender and special day for all.

2 hours ago

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs for the first time in the Philippines in the grand b...

Dan Rascon

Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square performs for first time in the Philippines

History was made for the Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square as it performed its very first concert ever in the Philippines.

5 hours ago

A volunteer dentist and a University of Utah dental student perform an examination during the "Give...

Collin Leonard, KSL.com

400 kids get free dental care during ‘Give Kids A Smile’ event

Eighty dentists, 20 hygienists and hundreds of community volunteers from across the Wasatch Front provided underprivileged families with free dental care for their children Saturday. It's become an annual event at the University of Utah's School of Dentistry.

6 hours ago

SWAT officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department stand in a driveway after they and patrol o...

Josh Ellis

Man arrested after allegedly threatening SLC first responders with gun

A 23-year-old man was arrested early Saturday morning after police say he threatened emergency medical workers with a handgun.

7 hours ago

Spanish Fork police at the scene where the teen was hurt....

Andrew Adams

Police: Spanish Fork teen seriously injured after falling out of an SUV

Spanish Fork police said a 16-year-old boy was seriously injured after falling out of a moving SUV on Friday.

21 hours ago

Aftermath of an avalanche off of the Wasatch Mountains. (Courtesy: Rob Holmes)...

Brianna Chavez

Backcountry skier urges caution after triggering avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon

A backcountry skier urges other skiers to be cautious after triggering avalanche in Little Cottonwood Canyon.

22 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Orem Scout Leader Drowns After Saving Boy Scout