Families tribute to ten-year-old who died falling through ice

Solihull: Police tried to 'punch through' icy lake to save children

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The family of Jack Johnson have paid tribute to the “amazing” 10-year-old, adding that they are “devastated” by the loss. In a Facebook post, his aunt Charlotte McIlmurray said Jack “ran and tried to save” the other three boys who became stuck in the freezing lake. She went on to describe the family’s pain as “unimaginable” but said it would be “a million times worse” for the other families. Jack and two other boys, aged eight and 11 died after falling into the lake in Babbs Mill Park, Kingshurst.

Temperatures are thought to have plunged to 1C (34F) in the area at the time of the incident, falling to -3C (26F) overnight.

After their rescue, the children were rushed to Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Heartlands Hospital, but police said they could not be revived.

A fourth boy, aged six, remains in the hospital fighting for his life.

Jack’s aunt Ms McIlmurray said: “My nephew saw one go through the ice and he ran and tried to save them.

“We are just broken over it and to find out he died trying to save three lads he didn’t even know, that just sums him up, he was amazing”.

‘It has been the most devastating day in our family’s life,” another relative who wished to remain anonymous said.

The children were playing on the ice when it gave way.

One police officer tried to punch through the ice to rescue them and several other entered the water, risking their own safety to help.

Supt Richard Harris of West Midlands Police said: “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 he’s now been released from hospital and he’s absolutely fine.”

Floral tributes, balloons, soft toys and lighted candles were left by mourners at a vigil held in Kingshurst, Solihull, near Birmingham, on Monday night.

Searches of the lake are continuing to establish whether anyone else fell into the water, following reports that as many as six children may have been involved.

Supt Harris, said: “We have to be 100 percent 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 percent certain we will be carrying on searches throughout the course of today.”

Supt Harris added that the families are “absolutely devastated”.

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 make available to the media so we’re doing everything we possibly can to support them.”

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