Schoolgirl recalls moment she used branch in bid to save boys from frozen Solihull lake
ITV News Central Reporter Lewis Warner speaks to a 13-year-old who tried to rescue the boys who fell into frozen water at a lake in Solihull
A schoolgirl who tried to save the boys who died after falling through a frozen lake has told of the "horrifying" moment she tried to rescue them.
Oliwia Szewc, 13, from Kingshurst, told ITV News Central she ripped a branch from a tree and held it out for them to grab on to.
She was meeting her friend at Babbs Mill Park on Sunday evening when they saw the boys struggling after falling into the icy water.
Speaking with her older sister by her side, she told ITV News Central: "I saw two boys in the water, I couldn't see the rest of them.
"I'm guessing most of them already fell into the lake.
"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."
She described seeing the two boys about five or six meters out into the lake, and said she heard someone else there mention that the boys couldn't swim.
With her friend calling 999, Oliwia tried looking around for ways she could help.
She said: "I was just trying to find branches of trees and try to pass to them but they were all too short.
"I was just trying my best to think of different ways to at least help them or do anything for them to float on the surface of the water so they wouldn't drown.
"I was thinking, what would be able to pull them back to the shore? And then I just looked at a tree and I was like, that's it. I should just get a branch I try. I got the branch, but it was too short."
'I was just trying to find a branch off the tree and pass it to them'
At that point, Oliwia realised they would have to wait for the emergency services to arrive.
Oliwia says there was also a man there, who she thinks was one of the boys' relative.
She explained: "He jumped into the frozen lake and cut up his legs but couldn't really do anything because he was putting his own life at risk.
"He didn't go any farther because the police held him back."
When the police arrived Oliwia remembers seeing one of the officers trying to break through the ice.
"A mother from one of the children arrived and then most of the police officers went to go comfort her because she was just kind of in a panic and not knowing how to react.
"I know the police were breaking some of the ice off the lake."
Oliwia spoke to the 999 call handler to give directions.
"I was trying to describe the surroundings because I forgot the name of the lake. It was just the whole panic. I was still shocked."
When paramedics arrived they started to treat the boys who had been pulled from the water.
Oliwia and her friend handed over their coats to wrap around the boys, to bring them up to temperature.
She said: "Ambulance workers were asking for jackets and coats to try to bring the boys, like, temperature back up.
"I gave my coat, my friend gave her jacket. We were just kind of praying that the boys would be all right.
Oliwia adds: "I was willing to give up anything just at least to save one of them.
"Knowing that one of them's still in hospital is kind of a relief because I was at least able to help someone."
She continued: "It was just horrifying and I was just clueless because I tried to help but I couldn't but I tried my best."
Oliwia is back at school and has been supported by West Midlands Police, who she has spoken to about what she saw.