Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
RememberSchiff

Scoutmaster drowns while rescuing scout (UT)

Recommended Posts

Posted (edited)

SALEM, Utah —   According to Salem Police Chief Brad James, a small group of Boy Scouts and their leaders were at the Knoll Park area of the pond practicing basic swimming .  A 25-year-old Utah County Scout Master went in to the water to rescue a scout who was struggling and pushed him to safety, but the leader went under the water, according to James.

https://fox13now.com/2018/07/18/boy-scout-leader-potentially-drowned-at-salem-ponds-police-say/

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/south/salem/scout-leader-drowns-in-salem-pond/article_d178de2f-0d78-58e9-bd06-e9a89af1d6be.html

Edited by RememberSchiff
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

What a shame. Young too.

Harsh reality: younger guards often misjudge.

God be with the family as they mourn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Police have identified a Boy Scout leader who drowned after saving a boy struggling in a Utah pond.

Salem police said Thursday that 22-year-old Wesley Robert Kratzer of Orem, Utah, disappeared underwater after pushing one of his young charges to safety on Wednesday night.

Chief Brad James says Kratzer was found by divers under about 12 feet (4 meters) of water.

He says the water is typically calm at the popular swimming spot, and it’s not clear why Kratzer slipped under the surface.

He says Kratzer was one of three leaders helping three Scouts learn swimming techniques so they could advance to the next level of Scouting. Members of the group were not wearing life jackets.

The child wasn’t hurt."

http://www.bcdemocrat.com/2018/07/19/us-troop-leader-drowns-the-latest/

https://www.heraldextra.com/news/local/south/salem/orem-scout-leader-who-drowned-in-salem-pond-identified/article_58915864-371b-5d15-a639-06fb9afd3c9e.html

  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Life jackets would have been nice. What about throw rings? Rope?

"Next level of scouting." Is that the one where boys do a line rescue?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reach, throw, row, go. 

Did the unit have a torpedo buoy?  Was a buddy system in force?  Was there any scout or adult who was trained as a bsa lifeguard?

Finally, what level of swimmers were the youth?  There isn’t a lot of reason to be in that deep of water with learners. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, qwazse said:

Life jackets would have been nice. What about throw rings? Rope?

"Next level of scouting." Is that the one where boys do a line rescue?

 

1 hour ago, John-in-KC said:

Reach, throw, row, go. 

Did the unit have a torpedo buoy?  Was a buddy system in force?  Was there any scout or adult who was trained as a bsa lifeguard?

Finally, what level of swimmers were the youth?  There isn’t a lot of reason to be in that deep of water with learners. 

 

My wife and I were mentioning these exact topics while laying in bed this morning and discussing this tragedy. One always hopes that one can maintain a level head and think clearly about Safe Swim Defense rules and basic rescue techniques when adrenaline is pumping.

The Scout leader's young wife was part of the adult contingent watching from the shore. They had been married only six months. Such a sad story.

Edited by gblotter
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, it sounds like mistakes were made. Tragic mistakes. But in the end, the scoutmaster saved his scout. Well done.

  • Like 1
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

19 hours ago, qwazse said:

Life jackets would have been nice. What about throw rings? Rope?

"Next level of scouting." Is that the one where boys do a line rescue?

 

I wasn't there, but it sounds like they were practicing the BSA swim test. A throw bag and line would have been nice, life jackets don't make much sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was not there either and have many questions.

According to Salem, UT police chief Brad James, 

... 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.”   

So my take is those devices were not present and it is still unknown if there was a medical condition involved. 

https://www.sltrib.com/news/2018/07/19/troop-leader-drowns-utah/

I suspect local police and fire will/have questioned and instructed adult leaders and scouts but what does the unit and Council do in the next weeks? Grief counseling, review/retraining, install life rings at that park?

My $0.01

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On July 22, 2018 at 2:09 AM, Saltface said:

I wasn't there, but it sounds like they were practicing the BSA swim test. A throw bag and line would have been nice, life jackets don't make much sense.

I've tied life jackets to ropes to equip a safe swim area. And as our lookouts rotate in, they practice throws and retrieves, checking every coil. It is true that adrenaline clouds thinking. That's where practice comes in.

This is very hard to comprehend. Although a scout was saved, and I'm sure most of us would count our lives forfeit if we knew it would spare one of our scouts, the world can ill afford to lose scouters to folly.

The next challenge? Helping boys get back in the water. Going over what to look for before swimming. Proper gear inventory.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, qwazse said:

I've tied life jackets to ropes to equip a safe swim area. And as our lookouts rotate in, they practice throws and retrieves, checking every coil. It is true that adrenaline clouds thinking. That's where practice comes in.

If you tie a life jacket to a rope and use it as a throw line, is it a throw line or a life jacket? While reading the various articles about the mishap, I encountered a few silly internet comments asking why the boys weren't wearing life jackets while swimming. I thought that's what you were saying.

Edited by Saltface

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Saltface said:

If you tie a life jacket to a rope and use it as a throw line, is it a throw line or a life jacket? While reading the various articles about the mishap, I encountered a few internet comments asking why the boys weren't wearing life jackets while swimming. I thought that's what you were saying.

Oh! When the life-jackets were tied to a rope, the kids weren't wearing them! That would make them too hard to throw!:D

However, first class rank requires knowing how to perform a line rescue, where a scout swims out with a line around his body to rescue a victim. (One of the many forms of "go, with support".) Personally, I am very nervous about this one. Attempting to rescue anybody without support is extremely dangerous - no matter how trained the guard. Doing so with just a rope and your buddies at the other end is a huge step of faith. Unless your patrol is real tight and practices it regularly, I say "Don't. Just don't. The day will be rife with sorrow. No need to double it."

On the other hand, had this scouter and the adults and older scouts just practiced this one very-low-tech discipline before the rest of the troop got in the water, this would have been a non-story. I've seen a few non-stories. It's a good day when reporters have to get their headline news elsewhere.

So, next time you are at the waterfront, here's the challenge. Start the clock. Pick one of your cars at random. Try to improvise a rescue device from the materials found therein. (Surely you all have rope and one floatable/throwable item.) See how far across the water you can deliver your rescue device. Note especially how well your rope behaves (float vs. sink). If the aquatics director has adequate supervision and equipment, ask if you can practice actually swimming out with your improvised device. Try getting your buddies to pull you in. Compare that time to your "improvisation time". It's very sobering.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×