Babbs Mill Park: What we know so far after four boys died in frozen lake tragedy

It was reported four children had been playing on the ice and fallen through into the lake Credit: PA Images

West Midlands Police has confirmed a fourth boy has died after falling into an icy lake in Solihull.

Searches of the site by emergency services at Babbs Mill Park have now ended and the scene of the incident at the lake will be lifted this evening (Wednesday, December 14).

Emergency services attended the beauty spot on Sunday, December 11, after reports four children had been playing on the ice and fallen through into the lake.

They were all rushed to two Birmingham hospitals; Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Heartlands Hospital, where they all arrived in critical conditions.

On Monday morning, West Midlands Police confirmed three boys aged eight, 10 and 11 had died.

On Wednesday evening, officers issued a further update with the sad news that the six-year-old had died.

Here at ITV News we have pulled together everything we know about the tragic incident as it has unfolded.

Latest statement from West Midlands Police

Officers issued an update about the events at Babbs Mill on Wednesday, December 14.

The statement reads: "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.

"Specialist officers remain in contact with the family and we will issue further information as soon as we can.

"The searches have been completed and the scene of the incident at the lake will be lifted this evening.

What happened at Babbs Mill Park?

Emergency services were first called to Babbs Mill Park at 2.34pm on Sunday.

It was reported four children had been playing on the ice and fallen through into the lake.

Members of the public and police officers initially went into the chilly waters to try to rescue the youngsters - before the children were reached by specialist water rescue-trained firefighters who got the group to safety.

Those pulled from the water were given immediate life support by ambulance crews and the fire service.

Nobody else was reported missing, according to West Midlands Police.

What has the fire service said?

A press conference was held at the scene at Babbs Mill Park on Monday with the fire service and police.

West Midlands Fire Service area commander Richard Stanton said at the time that the deaths of three boys who fell into a frozen lake was a “stark reminder” of the dangers of open water.

He said: “Yesterday’s incident is a stark reminder to us all of the dangers of open water, especially during the winter months.

“Frozen lakes, ponds, canals and reservoirs can look picturesque but they can be lethal and there are no greater warnings of this than yesterday’s tragic events.

“We would ask parents and carers to remind their children of the dangers of ice and why they must keep off it. Please help us to avoid this from happening again.”

Police say nobody else has been reported missing at Babbs Mill Park in Solihull Credit: PA Images

What have the police said?

One officer was treated for hypothermia after trying to punch through ice in an effort to rescue children from the lake, police said.

Superintendent Richard Harris, of West Midlands Police, told reporters: “Police officers did go into into the water.

“They were joined by other members of the other emergency services. Some of the officers went in waist-deep.

“One of my officers was trying to punch through the ice to actually rescue the children themselves. That officer as a result of that had some mild hypothermia yesterday. I’m pleased to say that he’s now been released from hospital and he’s absolutely fine.”

Superintendent Harris said there are a number of witnesses officers still want to speak to and appealed for anyone with information to contact the force.

The also said the search was continuing but “officers had had no contact from anybody suggesting that there’s anybody else missing.”

What about the families involved?

Families affected by the tragedy in Solihull are “absolutely devastated”, Superintendent Richard Harris of West Midlands Police said.

He told reporters: “Also this time of year, it’s on the run-up to Christmas, so close to the event itself, also adds to that tragedy.

“But as you can imagine the families are absolutely devastated, which is why we’re doing our very best to support the families.

"And obviously we’re abiding by their requests at the moment as to how much information that the families want us to to make available to the media so we’re doing everything we possibly can to support them."

Local MP Saqib Bhatti reacts to tragic lake incident

Saqib Bhatti, Conservative MP for Meriden said he has spoken to Prime Minister about this tragic incident, saying he has offered his condolences.

He also said: "We're both parents and we were reflecting on the fact that these were very young children."

Downing Street says the incident is 'devastating'

Downing Street said the deaths of the children at a lake in Solihull were tragic but praised the response of the emergency services.

The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's official spokesman said: “Obviously this is devastating news for the family and friends of those who have died, this is a tragic incident.

“The Prime Minister’s thoughts are with them and obviously he passes his thanks to the emergency services who are continuing to work and provide support.”

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