22-Year-Old Troop Leader Dies After Rescuing Boy Scout From Pond

Kratzer and his wife (GoFundMe)
Kratzer and his wife (GoFundMe)

His wife called him a hero.

A 22-year-old Boy Scout leader has drowned while saving the life of a young boy in Utah.

Wesley Robert Kratzer was in Salem Pond, teaching a troop of 10 and 11-year-old boys swimming techniques Wednesday when one of the boys began to struggle in the water. Kratzer pushed the boy to safety, but then dropped underwater and disappeared, Salem Police Chief Brad James said.

"We don't know if it was fatigue; we don't know if he cramped up. We may never know," James said. “He never resurfaced. But he did save the life of that young man."

Members of the group were not wearing life jackets, police said.

Divers were called to the scene and found Kratzer’s body 12 feet underwater after searching for an hour. The cloudy waters of the pond made the search difficult, authorities said.

Rescuers tried to perform life-saving measures as they rushed him to Mountain View Hospital, but he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

Kratzer was reportedly a lifelong scout who loved the outdoors.

“He loves being in nature, he loves doing things with his hands," his wife, Diana, 20, told KTSU. "He loved everything about nature and outside."

Diana, who served as an assistant to the group that day, was at the pond at the time of the tragedy. 

She hopes her husband is remembered as a hero.

“Because he is … even before he saved that kid, he was a hero for his family and for me," she told the station. 

An autopsy will help determine Kratzer’s cause of death.