Lincoln teen drowns in Holmes Lake

The 16-year-old Lincoln boy who drowned in Holmes Lake Thursday night has been identified as a Lincoln North Star student. 

In a letter to families, North Star Principal Megan Kroll said Ali Al-Baaj would have been a junior this fall at North Star.

Lincoln police and Lincoln Fire & Rescue were called to the Hyde Observatory on the south side of the lake about 9:30 Thursday night after Al-Baaj disappeared from view while swimming.

LFR’s rescue dive team and Nebraska State Patrol’s maritime and air units responded to the call. 

Al-Baaj was located after about an hour’s search by rescue personnel and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police said he and another family member decided to swim in the lake after walking on a trail in the park. 

Al-Baaj was found far from the shore, according to information provided by LPD. 

Police said the death appears to be an accidental drowning, although an investigation continues. 

Drownings at Holmes Lake, which is fairly shallow in most areas, are rare. Police officials said during a press briefing Friday that they couldn’t remember one. A check of newspaper archives appears to show the last one was in 1985. Swimming at the lake generally violates city ordinance. 

LPS said members of its crisis team were at North Star during summer school on Friday to offer assistance to students.

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children aged 1 to 4, and according to the Children Safety Network, nearly 900 children and teens die from unintentional drowning every year. It’s essential parents take note of these water safety tips. Lives depend on them. Buzz60’s Chloe Hurst has the story!

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