Utah scout leader drowns trying to save struggling boy

After helping a struggling boy, a scout leader drowned in Salem Pond on Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (Photo courtesy of the Kratzer family )

(UPDATE) - July 19 10:34 a.m. - The scout leader has been identified as Wesley Robert Kratzer, 22, of Orem. His body was taken to State Medical Examiner's Officer for an autopsy according to Salem Police.

(KUTV) — A scout leader drowned on Wednesday afternoon trying to help a boy who was struggling to swim at Salem Pond, according to police.

Salem Police Chief Brad James said a scout group was practicing swimming at the pond around 7:00 p.m. when witnesses reported one of the boys was having trouble in the water.

A 25-year-old scout leader jumped in the water to help and was able to push the boy to shore, but then slipped under the water.

Several police and fire units responded to the scene and began searching for the man.

Approximately 45 minutes later, he was pulled from the water.

Rescuers tried to resuscitate him en route to the hospital, but he did not survive, according to Chief James.

Police say they are not releasing the scout leader's name yet, but said he lived in Utah County.

The scout is said to be doing physically ok, but James added that everyone in the scout group is very shaken up by the incident.

“Obviously the leaders are shook up, the scouts are shook up and we may not know for sure why he went under," James said.

The victim was not wearing a life vest, according to police.

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