Three boys died after falling through ice into a frozen lake and a fourth child is still in serious condition after suffering cardiac arrest.
On Sunday afternoon, the ice cracked at a frozen lake in Babbs Mill nature reserve, Solihull, killing Jack Johnson, 10, and two other boys, ages eight and eleven. Charlotte McIlmurray, Jack's aunt, stated on Monday that the 10-year-old saw the other youngsters go through the ice and tried to save them. “My nephew saw one go through the ice and he ran and tried to save them,” she wrote on Facebook, per The Telegraph. “We are just broken over it and to find out he died trying to save three lads he didn’t even know, that just sums him up, he was amazing.”
The children were reportedly trying to help one of the boys whose leg got stuck. A boy, Tommy Barnett, told Sky News, “They were all playing on the ice, one got their legs stuck in the ice and then… his friends went to go and save him, but they all fell in. When it was summer, we used to go in the woods and play hide and seek next to the lake. But I wasn't here yesterday.”
Ten-year-old Jack Johnson who died in the frozen lake in Solihull was trying to save three other children he didn't even know after hearing their screams 💔https://t.co/gQbsK0zxmL— ChronSallie (@ChronSallie) December 13, 2022
The 3 children were brought to the hospital after being dragged from the water, according to West Midlands Police, but "unfortunately could not be revived." A fourth youngster, aged six, is still in serious condition in a Birmingham hospital after suffering cardiac arrest. Witnesses reported that they saw "six children falling into a frozen lake" at around 2:40 pm on Sunday, per ITV News. The police continues to search to establish exactly what happened and if anyone else fell into the water. Police state that they have not had any people reporting anyone else missing, but want to keep searching until they can be “100% certain”.
Jack's aunt described the tragedy as a “nightmare" for the families adding that “the pain is unimaginable” but would be “a million times worse” for the mothers who lost their children. Roofer Dale Hewitt, 29, said the family and community were devastated. Jack’s relative mourned him as he told The Telegraph, “It has been the most devastating day in our family’s life.”
Richard Stanton, the area commander for West Midlands Fire Service, said he was “deeply saddened” by the deaths of the three boys, which he described as “a tragedy beyond words”. He said, “It is a stark reminder of the dangers of open water, frozen lakes, and reservoirs. They can look picturesque but can be lethal. Parents and carers should remind children of the dangers presented by ice.”
Dozens of locals, including many schoolchildren, laid floral tributes to the three boys at the base of a tree near the park's northern entrance, where Thomas, another victim of the tragedy, was named. “To my friend Thomas,” one tribute read. “Thanks for being there for me when I was sad. Thanks for lending me your jacket when I was cold. You were like a brother to me. I miss you so much.”
We are extremely saddened to learn from our colleagues at West Midlands Police that, despite the best efforts of the emergency services, three children have died at the scene of Babbs Mill Lake. Please monitor our website for further details: https://t.co/OZBSY8xBKb— West Midlands Fire Service (@WestMidsFire) December 12, 2022
A group of firefighters wearing protective overalls and a white ribbon arranged like a flower paid their respects at the scene on Monday. On Twitter, the firefighters wrote, "We are extremely saddened to learn from our colleagues at West Midlands Police that, despite the best efforts of the emergency services, three children have died at the scene of Babbs Mill Lake."
Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, also left a message at the site. “Such a tragedy. My heart goes out to the families who have lost their most precious gift. May their young lives rest in peace, and may Kingshurst come together to remember them,” he wrote.
The story of the 3 boys who died after falling through the ice into a frozen lake in Solihull is heartbreaking. Police & public dived in without protective equipment to try & save them. We used to have public information warning films, we don’t now.— Nicky Clark (@MrsNickyClark) December 12, 2022
Time to restart them @DCMS
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Christopher Furlong