Solihull tragedy | 

‘Amazing’ boy named as hero who died trying to rescue others after fall into icy lake

Jack’s aunt Charlotte McIlmurray claimed he had bravely entered the water to rescue the three other boys.

Jack Johnson

Barney Davisarticle.copyright.ES

Tributes have been paid to an "amazing” boy who died trying to rescue three others who had fallen into an icy lake in Solihull.

Locals named Jack Johnson, 10, as one of the three boys who died in the freezing lake after hearing their screams and running in to their aid.

The boys, aged eight, 10 and 11, were taken to hospital after suffering cardiac arrest having fallen through ice at Babbs Mill Park, in Kingshurst, on Sunday.

A fourth boy, aged six, remains in a critical condition in hospital.

Nobody else has been reported missing after the deaths, police said.

Jack’s aunt Charlotte McIlmurray claimed he had bravely entered the water to rescue the three other boys.

She posted on Facebook: “The 10-year-old boy is my nephew. He saw one go through the ice and he ran and tried to save them.

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the other family. We are just broken over it.

“To find out he died trying to save 3 lads he didn’t even know, that just sums him up. He was amazing.”

She added: “This is a nightmare that families can’t wake from. The pain is unimaginable, he was my nephew so I know the pain is a million times worse for their mums.”

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.”

Superintendent Richard Harris, of West Midlands Police, said one of the officers punched through the ice to try and rescue the children.

He said all police who went to the scene entered the water with no regard for their own safety or with any special clothing.

He said families affected by the tragedy in Solihull are “absolutely devastated”.

Describing the rescue efforts he 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.”

Dozens of local people, including many schoolchildren, placed bunches of flowers in tribute to the three boys at the base of a tree near the northern entrance to Babbs Mill nature park.

Among the tributes was one from West Midlands Mayor Andy Street, with a card attached reading: “Such a tragedy. My heart goes out to the families who have lost their most precious gift.

“May their young lives rest in peace and may Kingshurst come together to remember them.”

Local woman Katie O’Driscoll, who was accompanied by her five-year-old daughter, also placed flowers at the site.

The mother of four said: “Anyone that has got kids can really relate to that we feel heartbroken as a community. The whole community cares – they will be kids that we know because we are a close-knit community.

“It’s affected everybody. It’s devastating and it’s sad.”

A group of firefighters wearing protective overalls placed their own floral tribute – bearing a white ribbon arranged as a flower – near Babbs Mill lake.

A card attached to the flowers read: “With deepest sympathy. Rest in peace boys. Love from Sheldon Red Watch.”

The seven firefighters paused for a few moments of reflection before leaving the scene, having been applauded by several local people for their efforts to save the youngsters.


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