Day of Swimming Ends Tragically in Death of 14-Year-Old Boy

A 14-year-old Kodiak boy drowned in Lake Gertrude at Fort Abercrombie on Tuesday night. The Alaska State Troopers report Rex Matautia was swimming with friends around 8 p.m. when he began struggling and slipping underwater. The other boys attempted to save him, but couldn’t hang on.

A bystander who heard the other two boys calling for help dialed 911 and Troopers, Bayside Volunteer and Kodiak Fire department personnel responded. A rescue team member spotted Matautia’s body about 75 feet from shore in 12-feet of water.

Troopers say Matautia had been underwater for about 25 minutes when a diver recovered him. Upon reaching the shore CPR was started and continued as Matautia was brought to Providence Kodiak Island Medical Center. There, emergency room staff attempted to resuscitate him for an hour and a half before he was pronounced dead.

The Troopers report Matautia and the other boys, ages 13 and 14, had been swimming in Lake Gertrude for about two hours and had pushed a log to the middle of the lake before tiring and heading back to shore.

The State Medical Examiner has requested an autopsy be done.

Jay Barrett is the news director at KMXT in Kodiak.

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