A 17-year-old high school student has died in a drowning accident at a Georgia lake – becoming the fourth person to die there in less than a month.
The body of Cristofer Acosta-Farias was pulled from Lake Lanier in Gainesville on Friday afternoon, an hour after he failed to re-emerge after disappearing beneath the surface of the water while swimming from a dock to the shore.
The Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Hall County Fire responded to the call near Balus Creek Park at 5pm and located Acosta-Farias’ body shortly afterwards using sonar.
Acosta-Farias was found by officials in a part of the lake that is more than 27 feet deep.
Department of Natural Resources Spokesperson Mark McKinnon said it’s currently unclear what may have caused the teen to go under.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends of Acosta-Farias to help his family raise money for his funeral, having raised already raised $6,000.
The 17-year-old was a junior at West Hall High School and was an 11th grade baritone player in the school’s band.
In a lengthy and moving tribute post published on the band’s Facebook page, the school remembered Acosta-Farias as a ‘gem’ and an ‘absolute light’.
‘He was sweet, vulnerable, kind, and strong. He had a tremendous work ethic and loved to have fun with his band family,’ the post, authored by Mrs. Wilson-Fields, reads. ‘When I think of Cristof, a few things come to mind. I loved hearing him say “LET’S GO” on the marching field. He had a booming, deep loud voice. When asked to COUNT LOUD on the marching field, his voice boomed over all of the low brass.’
Wilson-Fields added that ‘Cristof was a strong young man who was not afraid to be vulnerable. He told me of some of his personal struggles. He acknowledged his mistakes, apologized for them, and learned from them.
‘He knew the kind of person he wanted to become, and he was constantly working toward becoming a better person. But Cristof was already such a wonderful young man and he will be so, so missed,’ she continued, adding that he will never be forgotten.
The West Hall High School Band is holding a candlelight vigil to honor Acosta-Farias at 8:30pm on Sunday at Balus Creek Park, next to Lake Lanier where he died.
Acosta-Farias’ drowning is at least the fourth to have occurred at Lake Lanier in July. Two of those occurred across the Fourth of July weekend, DNR officials said.
Bruce Lee Hild never resurfaced after he jumped from a moving boat near Duckett Mill Campground on Friday, July 3. His body was recovered around 7pm later that day.
Less than 24 hours later, a 45-year-old Texas man, Jesus Jimenes, drowned at the lake after going into the water to swim.
And on Tuesday July 14, the body of a Stone Mountain man was recovered from the water after a days-long search.
Much like Acosta-Farias, Bentley Nwagbara, 28, jumped into the waters of Lake Lanier near Harbor Landing on July 11 and never resurfaced.