Rep. Chris Pappas, D-NH (1st District) has shared a heartfelt tribute to his nephew, Charlie, who drowned in a Bedford lake Sunday evening.

New Hampshire's 1st Congressional District includes the Seacoast Region in the Granite State.

State Police were called to Sebbins Pond after a 15-year-old boy playing on a rope swing dropped into the water and didn't resurface. His body was located a little over two hours later.

"On Sunday, we tragically lost my nephew Charlie. There are no words to describe the magnitude of the loss of this amazing 15-year-old or what he meant to all who knew and loved him," Pappas wrote on his personal Twitter account along with several photos.

"To say Charlie was super smart wouldn’t do it justice. He knew his alphabet before he turned two and quickly moved on to states, countries, and capitals," the proud uncle wrote. "Here he is at two and a half answering my question “Where is Mongolia?” He knew them all!"

Pappas said Charlie liked to hold signs at a polling place and was "awestruck" by his visit to the U.S. Capitol building.

"We will cherish every moment of the 15 years he graced this Earth. May his memory truly be eternal," Pappas wrote.

His fellow politicians offered Pappas their virtual condolences.

"There is no greater loss than that of a loved one. Terribly sorry to hear of this heartbreaking tragedy. Valerie and I are sending our sincere condolences and prayers to Congressman Pappas and his family," Gov. Chris Sununu tweeted.

"Brad and I, along with our entire staff, were heartbroken to learn that Chris Pappas’ nephew died on Sunday. We have reached out to support Chris and his family during this tragic time. The Pappas family is beloved by our entire federal delegation and by constituents across the Granite State. We urge respect for the family’s privacy and compassion for their loss in the coming days," Rep. Annie Kuster D-NH (2nd District) said in a statement.

With school out for summer and a short swimming season ahead, three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines says one of the most important things you can do to protect your children this summer is to make sure they can swim.

"Unfortunately, drowning is sort of an epidemic in our country. It is the second-leading cause of death in children five to 14, and number one cause of death, unintentional death, in children ages four and younger," Gaines said.

The NH State Police Marine Patrol Unit offers these general water safety recommendations:

  • Never swim alone, always bring a friend.
  • Swim in areas with lifeguards, whenever possible.
  • Always wear a personal flotation device (PFD) or life jacket whether recreating from a boat, alongshore, or in the water.
  • Know the conditions prior to heading out.
  • Know where you will be swimming and the name of the area in case you need to call for help.
  • Always tell someone where you are going and when you will return.
  • Stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you.
  • Always call 9-1-1 to report emergencies.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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