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Thin ice on a lake with trees in the background

Emergency services received a call on Sunday afternoon to four children who had fallen through the ice on a frozen lake.

Three of the children, aged 8, 10 and 11, have died. A fourth boy, aged 6, remains in a critical condition.

In response to the incident, Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service are urging people to take extra care while walking or playing near frozen bodies of water. Whilst the lake or body of water may look frozen, it may not be solid enough to hold any weight and in situations involving pets, where people go in to rescue them, or children who may not see the dangers present, the situation can quickly change.  

Moreno Francioso, Community Fire Prevention & Arson Manager at Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service, said: 

“We are deeply saddened to hear the news of the three young boys who have lost their lives and the young boy who is still in hospital. Our thoughts are with the families and friends of all those involved. The incident is a stark reminder of the very real dangers of open water, particularly when it’s frozen. Our message to everyone right now is to stay well away from the water’s edge. Please don’t try to walk or skate on frozen water. Regardless of how solid it looks, you never know when the ice may give way, in which instance tragic outcomes are common. 

“Please take the time now to talk to your children about the dangers of frozen lakes and why it’s important for them to stay safe, so that we can prevent this happening again.” 

If you or someone else gets into difficulty, remember to float to live. 

  • Keep calm and shout for help 

  • Spread your arms across the surface of the ice in front of you

  • If the ice is strong enough, kick your legs to slide onto the ice 

  • Lie flat and pull yourself towards the bank 

  • If the ice breaks, work your way to the bank by breaking the ice in front of you 

  • If you cannot climb out, wait for help and keep as still as possible, pressing your arms by your side, keeping your legs together and keeping your head clear of the water 

  • Once you are safe, go to hospital immediately for a check up 

Moreno Francioso continued: 

“We would also ask that pets are kept on leads in any location with water nearby. Dogs are often unable to judge when ice can take their weight. If your pet does fall in the water, please don’t attempt to rescue them – instead, contact the Fire and Rescue Service for support. There are many instances where dogs have managed to scramble ashore unaided while the owner attempting to rescue them has drowned. 

“In any situation where someone does end up in the water, your first response should be to call 999 for help. Once support is on its way, you may be able to use a large stick, pole, or items of clothing tied together to attempt to reach the victim: but don’t enter the water yourself. If you can’t reach the victim, keep an eye on their location so you can inform our rescue team of their whereabouts. 

“Our advice is to keep away from frozen water and enjoy the winter weather safely.” 

Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Fire and Rescue and Community Safety at Warwickshire County Council, said: 

“We urge you to think twice before approaching the water’s edge in these conditions. It may be tempting to play on the ice, particularly when it appears to be very solid, but this can be deceiving and it’s never worth the risk. Please follow the advice of our Fire and Rescue Service and keep yourself and those around you safe.” 


Published: 13th December 2022

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