Three young boys have died and a fourth remains in the hospital in serious condition after falling into a frigid lake in West Midlands County, England on Sunday afternoon. Image courtesy of Google
Dec. 12 (UPI) -- Three young boys have died and a fourth remains in the hospital in serious condition after falling into a frigid lake in West Midlands County, England on Sunday afternoon.
All four children had gone into cardiac arrest when police pulled them from the water, arriving only minutes after the first emergency call came in around 2:30 p.m. GMT.
One police officer attempted to punch through the ice to expedite the rescue effort.
The three boys, aged 8, 10 and 11 did not survive the plunge into the icy water at a nature reserve, while a 6-year-old was rushed to the hospital.
The tragedy happened in the town of Solihull, which is located around 10 miles south of Birmingham.
The local temperature sat at around 32 degrees at the time the four boys fell into the water. They have dipped as low as 26 degrees overnight.
Despite the temperature, officers jumped in immediately upon arrival, some wading into the water waist-deep without any protective clothing. Civilians and firefighters were also quick to respond and attempted to aid rescue efforts, but were unable to secure the four children.
A crew of specialty water rescue firefighters arrived and ultimately freed them from the water.
Rescue crews then performed "immediate lifesaving measures" before rushing the four to two separate Birmingham hospitals in critical condition.
An elementary located just a few minutes away from the lake said it would be closed because of the tragedy, but did not confirm the four were students there.
"One of my officers was trying to punch through the ice to actually rescue the children themselves," West Midlands Police Supt. Richard Harris said in a statement.
"That officer, as a result of that, had some mild hypothermia yesterday. I'm pleased to say he's now been released from hospital and he's absolutely fine."
At a news conference held later, Harris said family members are understandably "absolutely devastated."
Police searched the area thoroughly after the rescue to ensure there were no other victims. Harris said the department has not received any other reports of missing children in the area.
"I and all members and officers of Solihull Council are stunned by the dreadful situation at Babbs Mill and our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those affected," Solihull Metropolitan Borough Councillor Ian Courts said in a statement.
"I know the people of Kingshurst are a close-knit community and I am sure they will be supporting each other during this difficult time.
"We will be providing help and resources today and in the weeks ahead to try and assist where we can."