Six children drown after falling through ice while skating in China

A rescue operation was launched but none of the victims could be saved

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The Independent Online

Six children have reportedly died after falling through ice while skating on a frozen river in northern China.

The children, aged between five and 11, drowned after a thin section of ice cracked on the Huiji River in Pingyao county, Shanxi province, on Saturday afternoon.

A rescue operation was launched after police were alerted to the incident at around 5pm local time.

Four of the children were found an hour later and the remaining two were discovered at around 7.30pm.

All six victims were taken to hospital but none survived.

An official told the South China Morning Post that five of the children were cousins and one was a neighbour's child.

The county government was criticised for its slow response in bringing help to the children, but the official said the rescuers' safety had to come first.

Video footage emerged showing the difficulties faced during the rescue operation. One man is seen being dragged back to shore by a rope after falling through the ice.

Authorities said they are investigating the incident.