MADISON (WKOW) – The life of a 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student is cut short after what authorities are calling an accidental drowning.
The university is mourning the loss of John "Vietnam" Nguyen, who was a talented and musical sophomore from Chicago involved with several organizations on campus.
"Anytime somebody young ends up losing their life it's a tragedy and is not something easy for a community to deal with," said Sgt. Aaron Chapin of the UW-Madison Police Department.
The 19-year-old was swimming with friends just off the pier near the 600-block of North Park Street when officials say he went under the water of Lake Mendota and didn't resurface. He was pulled from the water by divers about 15 minutes later, but died at the hospital. The tragedy comes just days before the semester officially starts.
Public safety awareness is something UW police say they emphasize as students move onto campus and prepare for the school year.
Sgt. Chapin says, "There's a lot of students that are coming to a bigger city for their first time, lot of things to do in Madison and we really do try to impress upon students the importance of personal safety." He continues to say the police department spreads their messages in a number of ways, including involvement in student orientations and also via social media.
The police department has a number of safety tips on their website.