Three boys die after falling into ice-covered lake in Britain
LONDON (Reuters) -Three young boys died after falling into an ice-covered lake in central England at the weekend, police said on Monday, as Britain faces a cold snap which saw heavy snowfall blanket parts of the country overnight.
The boys, aged 11, 10 and 8, were pulled from the lake in Solihull in critical condition on Sunday afternoon, along with a 6-year-old, and taken to hospital. The 6-year-old was in critical condition in hospital, police said.
"The boys' deaths are a tragedy beyond words," Richard Stanton from the local fire and rescue service said at a news conference.
"Yesterday's incident is a stark reminder to us all of the dangers of open water, especially during the winter months."
Emergency services were called just after 2.30 p.m. on Sunday and local media reported members of the public had entered the water to try to help the boys.
Richard Harris of West Midlands Police said that searches would continue for as long as it took until they were certain there was no-one else in the lake after conflicting reports that other children might have fallen in.
He said one officer was treated for mild hypothermia after going in to try to save the children, but had been released from hospital and was fine.
"One of my officers was trying to punch through the ice to actually rescue the children," Harris said. "The officers went straight in, without regard for their own safety. They entered the water in just a normal trousers and shoes."
He declined to comment on whether the boys were related.
A spokesperson for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said it was "devastating news for the family and friends" of the boys.
"This is a tragic incident," he said. "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."
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan, Farouq Suleiman, Alistair Smout and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Alex Richardson and Nick Macfie)