A teen swimmer pulled lifeless from Lake Champlain Monday has been identified as 17-year-old Christian Kibabu, of Burlington.

Rescuers found Kibabu in an area off Oakledge Park in Burlington. Officials said he was last seen by his friends about 4:45 p.m. Monday.


Kibabu, originally from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, was featured in an article posted on the Burlington Free Press that detailed Burlington High School Boys Soccer team’s ethnic diversity:

“In all, the Burlington roster is made up of 13 nationalities while nine languages, including English, are spoken. One Burlington teacher, with the aid of a player, counted up 21 total languages — ranging from Swahili to Wolof to Kirundi.”

Condolences over the promising young soccer player’s death rang out on social media:

Meishun Chau: Hey everyone, can you help me get a prayer chain going for Christian Kibabu’s family. He lost his life in Lake Champlain while swimming with a couple of friends. Forward / share this to everyone you can please! It’s really appreciated.

Kibabu was swimming a few hundred feet offshore at the park. The man’s friends said they lost sight of him and called police. A dive team was called to the scene to help search. Multiple agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard assisted with the search. A witness said four people were in the water paddleboarding by a platform. They believe the man may have gotten caught on the platform. source

Kibabu was taken to UVM Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead. An autopsy is planned to determine exact cause of death. No foul play is suspected.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends at this difficult time.


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