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Kenyan teen, 17, drowns in Virginia

Monday July 18 2016

Jeremy Munga drowned in a lake in Virginia, USA, on July 14, 2016. PHOTO| COURTESY

Jeremy Munga drowned in a lake in Virginia, USA, on July 14, 2016. PHOTO| COURTESY 

B M J MURIITHI
By B M J MURIITHI
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A Kenyan teenager on Thursday drowned while swimming in a lake in Falls Church, Virginia, USA.

Jeremy Munga, 17, had been swimming with friends off a pontoon boat about 200 yards from a guarded swimming beach on Lake Barcroft when, according to witnesses, he suddenly lost his strength.

Eye witnesses said that Munga suddenly seemed to be in distress, prompting about 15 lifeguards to dive into the lake in search of him.

Classmates told the local media that Munga was a student at J.E.B. Stuart School and made his mark as an all round athlete.

One of Munga’s friends, who did not wish to be named, told the Nation that he and most of the other students were sad and distraught because Munga was a good swimmer.

“We don’t understand this. He was a footballer, a dancer and a great swimmer,” said the classmate.

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By Sunday, the medical examiner had not released the autopsy report to determine the actual cause of death.

According to a local TV station, WUSA9, Munga was swimming toward a dock but went under just 15 feet from shore.

“The lifeguards tried to find him but could not. It is dark water...your foot under the water can't be seen," said Bill Lecos, the president of the Lake Barcroft Home Owners Association.

"Some kids that were in the lifesaving efforts are classmates. It's a heartfelt loss for a lot of folks," said Lecos.

The local Fairfax County rescue crews found Munga's body around 3 a.m. in 10-feet deep water, several hours after he first disappeared into the water.

Police said Friday that they do not suspect any foul play nor do they think the incident poses any threat to the public.

Jeremy lived with his brother in Falls Church, Virginia. The Kenyan community in Virginia reacted with shock upon learning of the development.

A family member who set up a Go Fund account wrote that "Jeremy was the best friend you could have. He was always happy and always wanted to make others smile." The fund received more than $7,000 (Sh690,000) by Friday evening.