Police officer tried punching through ice to save children in frozen Babbs Mill Park lake
'One of my officers was trying to punch through the ice to actually rescue the children themselves', superintendent from West Midlands Police says
A police officer tried punching through the ice of a frozen lake to save children who had fallen in at Babbs Mill Park in Solihull.
Superintendent Richard Harris, of West Midlands Police, said one of his officers tried to rescue the children after arriving at the scene around 2:40pm yesterday, following reports of children playing on the ice and falling through it.
Four boys were rescued from the water, but three, aged eight, 10 and 11, have died.
A fourth boy, aged six, remains in a critical condition.
West Midlands Police and West Midlands Fire and Rescue service said all officers and responders at the scene went into the water with no specialist clothing, just their plain uniforms, in efforts to save the children.
Supt Richard Harris said: "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."
Police have had no contact from anyone suggesting there are others missing in the lake but will keep searching on Monday to make “100% certain”.
Mr Harris also told reporters: "We have to be 100% certain that there is no one else possibly in the water at this time.
"It’s important to stress though that we’ve had no contact from anybody suggesting that there’s anybody else missing but until we’re 100% certain we will be carrying on searches throughout the course of today."
West Midlands Fire Service area commander, Richard Stanton, said the deaths of three boys who fell into a frozen lake was a “stark reminder” of the dangers of open water.
He told a press conference at the scene: "Yesterday’s incident is a stark reminder to us all of the dangers of open water, especially during the winter months."
Mr Stanton adds: "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."
Downing Street said the deaths of three children at a lake in Solihull were tragic but praised the response of the emergency services.
The Prime Minister’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.”