Troop leader drowns in Utah pond after saving struggling Boy Scout

Update: The Boy Scout leader has been identified as 22-year-old Wesley Robert Kratzer.

As a troop of 10- and 11-year-old Boy Scouts practiced the swimming techniques each boy needs to achieve a first-class ranking on Wednesday night at Salem Pond in Utah County, one of them began to struggle.

A 25-year-old troop leader quickly came to the boy’s assistance, pushing him to safety. But the man never resurfaced.

Emergency responders arrived about 7 p.m., shortly after he went under, and divers searched the murky waters “by feel” because of poor visibility, according to police Chief Brad James. The troop leader had been submerged for about 50 minutes before divers found him.

Medical personnel performed life-saving maneuvers, but the Scout leader was later pronounced dead at Mountain View Hospital in Payson.

James said the pond is a popular swimming spot in the summer, with a beach area, picnic tables and pavillions. Though he said the water is quite calm, he urged anyone swimming there to keep safety in mind.

“You should have flotation devices,” he said. “You should have life jackets, you should have throwaway devices to throw to somebody for help, you should always have those in place any time you’re swimming in open water like that.”

James said the Boy Scout is uninjured. Authorities have not yet released the name of the Scout leader.