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Founder of Facebook Community Dies While Swimming in Frozen Lake

Fanni Kaszás 2019.01.14.

Tibor Szombathelyi, the founder of the ‘School of Life’ Facebook community, died while swimming in a frozen lake near Bárdudvarnok on Sunday according to a post on the Facebook page.

Szombathelyi regularly swam in the open water, oftentimes even swimming in the frozen lake during wintertime. On Sunday, he cut a hole in the frozen lake and dipped into the water but died when caught under the ice. Szombathelyi was found 30 meters off the coast of the lake, under six to eight centimeters of thick ice.

Szombathelyi, who died at the age of 53, was known in Hungary for his Facebook community of more than 18 thousand people and for building and running his own farm. Szombathelyi ran his land according to the principles of permaculture, something he was passionate about doing after making the decision to raise his three daughters in a natural environment.

Around 2015, he started to share his experience—cultivated over a period of 20 years—of coexisting harmoniously with plants and animals with the community on Facebook. Others referred to him as a modern pioneer who believed in a future paved with changed attitudes and minimized needs. Szombathelyi was determined to get people off their computers and out into the real world. To that end, he launched the Facebook page and event series ‘School of Life’.

His Facebook page has a follower base of more than 18 thousand people and he often held events country-wide. For some time, Szombathelyi even welcomed those interested in his philosophy to his property.