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Solihull incident: Boy, 6, becomes fourth child to die after falling into icy lake

Three other boys aged eight, 10, and 11 died in the tragedy

Emily Atkinson
Wednesday 14 December 2022 19:36 GMT
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Schoolgirl recalls moment she tried to rescue four boys who fell into frozen Solihull lake

A six-year-old boy has become the fourth child to die after falling into an icy lake in Solihull on Sunday, police say.

In a statement following the tragic death of the child, West Midlands Police said: “It is with heartfelt sadness that we have to report this afternoon, the six-year-old in hospital has lost his fight for life.

“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and friends of those involved in this tragedy.

“We cannot comprehend the enormity of the pain they must feel and our hearts go out to them.”

It follows the deaths of three other boys aged eight, 10, and 11. The fourth boy, who was rescued from the water, had been in a critical condition in hospital.

A map showing the location of the lake where four children were rescued afternoon after falling through ice (PA/Datawrapper)

The boy, 6, had been fighting for his life in hospital since the incident at Babbs Mill Lake, Solihull, near Birmingham, on Sunday.

The other boys who lost their lives were also taken to hospital on Sunday night after being rescued from the lake after falling through ice, but West Midlands Police said “they could not be revived”.

The search of the lake is continuing after reports up to six children fell in, but authorities have said it is “no longer a search and rescue operation”.

Temperatures are thought to have plunged to 1C in the area at the time of the incident, falling to -3C overnight.

Earlier this week, relatives paid tribute to one of the youngsters, 10-year-old Jack Johnson, who is reported to have been trying to save others who fell into the water, and in a social media post, thanked members of the community for their support.

Several other tributes had cards dedicated to Jack while others paid tribute to another boy by name, saying: “To Thomas, The world will not be same without you” and “Thomas, rest in peace. Love from Earl”.

Flowers and tributes near to Babbs Mill Park in Kingshurst, Solihull (PA)

Among the dozens of teddy bears was one with the message: “RIP beautiful angels.”

More details have emerged about the rescuers, who included members of the public and police officers – including one member of the force who suffered mild hypothermia after trying to punch through the ice in order to get the boys out as quickly as possible.

Rich Cooke, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, told The Telegraph the officer was a student officer in his early 20s, who had been on one of his first operational rotations.

Mr Cooke described him as “an absolute hero”.

He said all the police who arrived at the scene had “tried to help in whatever way they could”.

It was earlier revealed that a teenage girl had used a tree branch to try to rescue the boys who died after falling through thin ice on a lake in Solihull.

Officers from West Midlands Police lay flowers and stand in silence near the scene in Babbs Mill Park (PA)

Oliwia Szewc, 13, from Kingshurst, said she was meeting a friend in Babbs Mill Park when she saw boys struggling in the lake after falling through the ice.

“I saw two boys in the water, I couldn’t see the rest of them,” the teenager told ITV News Central. “I’m guessing most of them already fell into the lake.”

She added: “I was just shocked and panicked because I didn’t know what I could do. Me and my friend have never really been in a situation like that before.”

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