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Merrimack River tragedy: Five years later

December 14, 2007

Survivor bravely goes on with his life never forgetting little Christopher


Ivan has not had a hard time returning to the club since the accident. In fact, it is his sanctuary.

“That’s where I go to have fun,” he said. “I don’t think of anything that happened.”

At the Alexander B. Bruce School, Ivan is in eighth grade, and history is his favorite subject. He hopes to go to Central Catholic High School next year and play on the basketball team.

“He’s doing good right now,” said his mother, Jacqueline, referring to his schoolwork.

At home, Ivan is soft-spoken and polite. He stayed in his room when a reporter and a photographer showed up for an interview. His mother called to him several times in Spanish during the course of about an hour, trying to persuade him to meet his guests.

He finally walked into the living room to have his picture taken. He stood next to his mother, put his arm around her and smiled for a photo. He then sat on the sofa’s armrest and played with the family dog — a 3-pound Chihuahua named JLo.

He offered only brief answers to personal questions.

When he’s around his peers though, it’s a different story.

“He’s kind of a jokester,” said his basketball coach Jose Otero. “He’s a great kid. He’s always happy. He’s a jokester, has a lot of energy, a decent student too.”

Ivan wears his game face on the basketball court, playing point guard and shooting guard.

“He’s our energy,” Otero said. “Real talented ... One of our best players on the team.”

Ivan talked about music and sports with ease. He listed his favorite basketball players — Tracy McGrady of the Houston Rockets and Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers. He said his favorite team right now is the Celtics. He likes rap, hip hop and reggae. He listed several of the communities he competes against in basketball: Methuen, Westford and Brookline.

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