Valley Teacher Drowns Near Young

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A Valley high school teacher taking some students backpacking drowned in a trout pond south of Young May 8.

Richard Beier, 48, of Tempe, was in the area of Spring Creek Ranch Road when the accident occurred.

"(Beier) and the students were cleaning up around the trout pond, when a student inadvertently pulled a rope that opened a gate valve in the pond," Gila County Sheriff's Det. Brian Havey said.

Beier dove into the pond to replace the gate valve and got sucked into a 12-inch pipe.

"The force was about 450 pounds per square inch holding him against the pipe," Havey said. "It was a muddy bottom and there was no way for him to push himself away."

The students and Beier's wife made several attempts to rescue him, but were unsuccessful.

"They ended up tying a toe

strap around his leg and pulling him out with a four-wheel drive truck," Havey said. "He was under water for 30 to 45 minutes."

CPR was performed on Beier until he was pronounced dead at Payson Regional Medical Center.

Havey said they have concluded the incident was an accidental drowning.

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